The Plenary Meeting of the IRRB was officially opened by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General. He mentioned that it was a particular pleasure to welcome the IRRB Plenary at the UIC Headquarters in the midst of a week full of important research events such as TRA as well as the WCRR EXE and ORG meetings. He mentioned that the Plenary Meeting in Sydney demonstrated that much had been achieved during the previous three years, working with the IRRB Strategy, such as the UIC Research & Innovation Awards, the Rail Research Portal, the new special UIC membership category for academic support to the UIC members’ research activities. However, much work lies still ahead as has been described in the new IRRB strategy document for the next three years.
IRRB chairman Boris Lapidus thanked the UIC and IRRB members for the support and would like to aim to achieve a “union of railway researchers” in the near future to support the research activities of the UIC members. Also he would like to strengthen the prestige and influence of the UIC Global Research & Innovation Awards (with the support of sponsors) as well as to streamline the system of knowledge dissemination. All necessary actions are well described in the new IRRB strategy and it is important to make good progress with the implementation of the plans.
During the plenary meeting the vice-chairmen leading the Strategy Working Groups implementing the IRRB Strategy Document, presented the work carried out and the progress made. Building on this, the new team of vice-chairmen presented their ideas for the implementation of the five areas as described in the new Strategic Document (2014 – 2016) which are:
- (Area 01) – Developing a global Vision for Rail
- (Area 02) – Definition of global research priority areas + needs for global standardisation
- (Area 03) – World class research capacity plan
- (Area 04) – Dissemination and exchange of knowledge & information
- (Area 05) – UIC Global Rail Research & Innovation Awards
This was followed by a short discussion about the Limited Affiliate UIC Membership category especially designed to include research centres and academia in the work of the IRRB. One of the first new potential members UBIMET from Austria – represented by Stefan Eisenbach – presented their work in advising OBB in the field of climate change and natural hazards forecasting and mitigation.
Finally some information was given about S2R, Horizon 2020 1st Call, the UIC TALENT project, Challenge 2050 and the RTSE documents. The planning of the 2014 plenary meetings and telephone conference rounded up this Plenary IRRB meeting.