The 9, 10 and 11 February saw a number of meetings held in Paris related to the European Region’s work programme
Research and Innovation
On 9 February a very representative group of member companies assembled to consider a wide range of issues under the umbrella of the Research and Innovation Coordination Group (RICG). This group has recently restructured the way it conducts its business. It has revised its Terms of Reference in particular to reflect the launch of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R). With S2R being far from all-embracing of the future needs of the rail operating community, RICG has decided to establish three member-led Working Groups – on Common Collaboration, Vision & Strategy and Liaison. The idea being that these groups will consider a range of objectives, timed action plans and a possible list of deliverables which will be formally established at the next RICG meeting.
RICG will also reflect on a range of sources of inspiration, including S2R (master plan, MAAP, open calls…), the RTSE, the H2020 programme, regional and national initiatives and the business needs of the members in order to then work with the UIC Forums and Platforms in recommending and prioritising the topics to build into the European work programme of the next few years.
The Members were updated on the latest developments of Shift2Rail and considered how best the ROC should efficiently coordinate its effort. This is especially relevant in ensuring that the ROC is maximising the innovation opportunities in relation to the open calls programme. An excellent presentation on the recently-established South-East European Strategic Alliance for Research and Innovation (SEESARI) was delivered by Dr Peter Verlič (SLO). The meeting was provided with a summary of current UIC involvement in Horizon 2020 and S2R Open Calls.
Strategy and Governance
The new grouping (as of 1/1/2016) of the Assistants of the European Management Committee (EMCA) held its first meeting of the year on 10 February 2016. The EMC is the body that gives the strategic orientations for the European Region.
The delegates were welcomed by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux UIC Director General and the meeting was attended by the representatives of ADIF, ATOC, BLS, CFR, DB, FSI, Infrabel, IP, MAV, ÖBB, PKP and SNCF. Representatives of CER and JBV and the Chairman of RICG also attended.
The group focused its attention on:
- A brainstorming session on how to innovate the future European railway system with the proposal of the creation of a dedicated CEO Task Force for “big picture” monitoring. The Task Force will reflect on how to innovate given the current European agenda, in particular Shift2Rail, and the respective role of the different sector associations
- The group also tackled the very important issue of standardisation in the context of a document to be published soon called the Rail Standardisation Strategy, Europe. The document details the role a number of key players have in respect to the production of standards for the rail sector. It specifically sets out how the UIC, with its mandate from the rail operating community, prepares, publishes and manages the suite of International Railway Standards that are designed specifically to focus on the business needs of the rail operating community and in a complementary role to the European and International standardisation bodies
- The EMC itself will meet on 10 March in Paris to further develop and determine strategic direction on these issues
In the presence of the ECMA representatives, a special session involving all UIC technical directors and the UIC Quality Manager considered the preparation necessary for the technical work of the years to come.
Included amongst the issues considered was the presentation of tri-annual working plans (and projects deriving from them) for all the UIC technical bodies. This work is part of the development of the overall Quality Management System that the UIC is currently putting into place to improve all its internal processes (in particular project management processes) in cooperation with the members.
The QMS Task Force continued their deliberations the following day in a meeting that took place at the HQ of SNCF in St Denis, Paris. They considered the detailed elements that will comprise the overall QMS, which is being phased in within the European region as a pilot region before it is then rolled out for application across all of the UIC regions.
The next meeting of the European Regional Assembly will take place in Milan on 30 May 2016.