Tuesday 19 May 2009

UIC on the fast track for rail research in Europe

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Facing the challenges of the European Commission’s next call of the 7th Framework Programme, more than thirty PTR members met in Vienna for the PTR workshop “Railway Research in Europe” in order to discuss all further steps and to agree on a common approach. The participants were welcomed by the PTR chairman Joachim Mayer (DB) and the host Helmut-Schimany (ÖBB) with the two days workshop being chaired by Enno Wiebe (UIC)

This workshop’s aim was to cover the field of railway research in Europe including the European Commission’s (EC) Framework Programme and the PTR research and technology work as broad as possible. The first day was dedicated to general information about the National Contact Points, the PTR Strategy Programme 2020 and the work of ERRAC. The second day to defined and provided the right tools for all upcoming R&D activities, either under the 7th Framework Programme or for the PTR work.

Enno Wiebe presented the PTR Strategy Programme 2020 and highlighted this document as working paper defining all future R&D activities within PTR. The PTR Strategy Programme 2020 is currently harmonised with all other UIC platforms and forums. It was agreed that the PTR Strategy Programme 2020 mirrors the strategic thinking of the PTR Steering Body supported by the PTR Plenary and defines their common major areas of action. As a second step, suitable funding schemes for the topics summarized have to be found. This could either be supported by the EC’s 7th Framework Programme, multi-lateral projects or UIC projects.

Dennis Schut (UIC) described the aim and the main activities of the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) as the main influencing instrument to shape EC railway research funding - like producing and approving detailed roadmaps for the correct implementation of the SRRA and addressing technological and political (EU level) challenges and maintaining ERRAC as the rail advisory body through the lifetime of the EC framework programs.

Three joint working groups discussed about optimising the interaction/ work flow and interest transfer between PTR/ RCG and ERRAC and its working groups. The results of these joint working groups were presented to the entire group afterwards and will be further developed through discussions in RCG and PTR.

Joachim Mayer presented the mission of PTR and its working bodies (SET – Sector Expert Teams) and the three PTR Programme Managers. The differences between the PTR basic tasks (like the management of the UIC leaflets) and the main tasks (common and multilateral projects) were explained. The interfaces between the PTR Steering Body, RCG and the Programme Managers were described. Further the PTR Strategy Programme 2020 was highlighted as the only framework for all R&D activities. In respect to the presentation in Panel 4 (7th Framework Programme) is was underlined that PTR offers two ways of funding project ideas outside the EC‘s Framework Programme.

One of the essential parts of the workshop was a close look on the upcoming call for proposals by the European Commissions. The main focus of this call will be the freight sector with rolling stock-, vibration- and modal shift- aspects. All participants discussed about the most promising way to address the call and to prepare successful proposals. Finally the workshop provided the right tools for a common approach towards the challenges of the upcoming 3rd call of the 7th Framework Programme.

For more information contact Enno Wiebe in Paris or Dennis Schut in Brussels: Wiebe@uic.org or schut@uic.org

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