On 1 February 2011, a meeting was held at UIC Headquarters in Paris with Mr. Boris Lapidus, Director-General of JSCo railway research institute “VNIIZht”, Chairman of the Unified Scientific Council of JSCo “Russian Railways RZD”, and since last December Chairman of the UIC International Railway Research Board – IRRB – (assisted by Aleksander Kassay, Deputy Director) and Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, assisted by Mr. Jerzy Wisniewski (Fundamental Values department), Mr. Vincent Vu (Institutional Relations department), Mr. Emilio Maestrini (Rail System department), Mr. Oliver Sellnick (Freight department and UIC Coordinator for Russia), Mr. Paul Véron (Communications department), Mr. Grigory Kozyr and Mr. Anton Akulov (Senior World Advisors) and Mr. Dennis Schut (Research Unit).
This meeting provided an opportunity to Mr. Loubinoux to warmly welcome Mr. Boris Lapidus in his new responsibilituies within UIC and to recall the background of the IRRB reactivation as well as the main topics of its agenda. Mr. Lapidus expressed his wish to rapidly obtain measurable results.
Mr. Lapidus is convinced that the International Railway Research Board (IRRB) will play a key role in promoting worldwide exchanges within the rail research community.
Three main priorities were defined for short-term and longer-term activities:
- Exchange of R&D information: defining specifications and an architecture for a UIC Research/IRRB Portal (proposal to be submitted at next IRRB meeting during the World Congress on Railway Research on 26 May 2011 in Lille),
- Global railway standardisation: work will be achieved with the support of an expert group (7 to 10 experts under the responsibility of UIC Rail System department) that will be in charge of reviewing which of the approximately 700 UIC leaflets can be converted into world railway standards,
- The project to create a World Railway Research Award where railway and other research institutes, universities and railway companies can compete. This international prize rewarding innovation in the rail sector should help attract new generations of rail researchers to the rail industry.
Mr. Lapidus was also invited to the “Rail Research Information Day”, the seminar to be held in July in Moscow by VNIIZht. The programme, to be established in liaison with Mr. Aleksander Kassay, RZD-VNIIZht, and Mr. Dennis Schut, UIC Research Unit, will include topics relating to R&D projects co-financed by the EU and will address how UIC can support its members in research issues.