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Training in European Asset Health Management

Final Report Summary - TEAM (Training in European Asset Health Management)

TEAM (Training in European Asset Management) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) by the European Commission. The justification for TEAM is that transport demand, both for passengers and freight, is growing strongly worldwide. If we are to meet economic growth targets, and facilitate integration of the European Union, it’s important that the European transport network can deal with this continuing growth in demand. However, transport growth using the technologies of today is unsustainable. New technologies and processes need to be developed which will deliver cheap, sustainable transport. In the past two decades there has been a revolution in electronic sensor and processing technologies. Sensors and the associated multiplexing electronics and software tools are now cheap and reliable which creates potential for new innovative uses in all kinds of ways.

The TEAM project has worked to exploit the benefits of new sensor and processing technologies, methodologies, models and algorithms to monitor the condition and safety of transport infrastructure. These new sources of asset health data, combined with new computer models and algorithms, will be used to revolutionise the accuracy of condition and safety assessments. Knowing exactly the processes, parameters, implications and state of health of transport infrastructure assets, will extend their safe working lives and reduce costs.

To produce the changes needed in the way that we manage our transport infrastructure, we need to produce engineers with a diverse skill set that will allow them to address the problem holistically. To achieve a range of high quality research and training activities were initiated with the objectives of:
• Conducting doctoral level research that will lead to significant numbers of research publications;
• Develop a structured PhD program based on the concept of high-quality, shared, intensive modules;
• Ensure industrial focus at all stages in the process.

Research Team
A recruitment process was initiated in November 2009 and 14 high quality researchers were recruited. The project partners are quite diverse in their backgrounds (3 university, 3 industry, 1 research institute) and each of these have recruited at least 1 researcher. To ensure that the research maintained a practical focus, efforts were made to involve our industry partners in all aspects of the project, including participating on the Supervisory Board, recruiting researchers, offering advice to researchers etc.

Research Training
The original plan for the TEAM project was to conduct 4 training weeks over the course of the project, with each event being hosted by an academic partner (University College Dublin, University of Nottingham, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Trinity College Dublin). This however was changed quite early in the project, largely due to enthusiastic, proactive industry partners, which resulted in 2 additional training events. The first was led by IFSTTAR (Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l'Aménagement et des Réseaux) and featured significant industry input from French companies such as Eiffage, Setra, CG44 and SNCF. The second additional event was 100% industry led (by ABM Construction) and provided the researchers with valuable skills in project management.

The TEAM Supervisory Board were of the view that this combination of technical excellence with industry input would produce a cohort of high quality researchers with the ability to bring transformative skills to the transport sector. At the moment (March 2014), 6 of the TEAM researchers have completed their PhDs, while another 6 are approaching the end of their studies. It is however notable that the preferred career path for the majority of the TEAM researchers is a career within the industrial transport sector, rather than academia; at the moment 9 of the researchers are currently employed in industry. In this context it would appear that the TEAM project was successful in maintaining an industrial focus to the research.

Throughout the TEAM project there have been efforts made to communicate our research to stakeholders. We have worked actively with FEHRL (Forum of European Highway Research Laboratories), an organisation that represents national road agencies and other key players in the transport sector. This has included presentations at policy events in Brussels, as well as major events such as the Transport Research Arena, and conferences organised by important associations such as International Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety, the European Asphalt Technology Association, the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability, the International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures (RILEM). These have ensured that our ESRs are conducting state of the art research, while also disseminating our results to key parties within the transport industry.

A final measure of success for the project is the ability to ensure continued research activity beyond the project completion date. In this regards a number of the TEAM partners have proactively ensured this by successfully winning a follow on ITN. The project Sustainable Pavements and Railways (SUP&R) was launched in October 2013 and will aim to continue to provide high quality research training with an industrial focus. Further information, including details on all of the TEAM researcher publications are available at