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Establishing a CompreHEnsive transport Research information Management and Exchange System

Final Report Summary - HERMES (Establishing a CompreHEnsive transport Research information Management and Exchange System)

Executive Summary:
The HERMES project brought together partners from the four transport modes of road; rail; aeronautics and marine. All the mode partners agreed that there was an opportunity to bring together a common area on the internet where researchers could access information concerning transport research organisations; projects and publications via one portal. This would save time and duplication of efforts in searching via multiple search engines.

At the same time, the portal would be a tool for enabling and facilitating the collaboration and cooperation of researchers and the exchange of information outside of the normal working practices within organisations and in European and International projects.

To enable the creation of a portal that would fulfil these requirements, the project partners set about the foundation research in two distinct ways. One was to find out what the technical barriers were to having multiple links to international sites and organisations that could be accessed via the portal. Secondly, to identify the barriers to international collaboration and how these could be resolved and the portal play a role in facilitating bringing organisations and researchers together.

The main partners of the project were all European-based and to add an international dimension there were three International experts involved in the project from Japan; the USA and Australia who provided invaluable information in terms of the technical aspects of linking international databases via the portal and the barriers to international collaboration.

The International Workshop held in 2013 brought together international transport research experts in an ideal forum to voice their opinions and express their ideas about how to improve international collaboration as well as raise the profile of the HERMES project. It was also an opportunity to formally launch the HERMES portal and receive direct real-time feed-back about the portal as it was and how it could be progressed.

The HERMES project achieved its aim of having an impact on facilitating easier exchange of information for European and International researchers via the international workshop and the HERMES portal. In particular, International Experts on the project benefited by:

o The Transportation Research Board (TRB) in the US benefited from identification of databases and access to them via the HERMES portal.
o The Japan Institute for Transport Economics (JITE) established links with European players in Transport Research
o The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) gained access to transport research information through exchanges with the partners in the HERMES project and through the HERMES portal.

The HERMES portal has been re-branded and will continue for the next 5 years in which time it will be developed and advanced to accommodate the outcomes from this research. The HERMES portal will also be kept live for 3 years after the project with a direct link to the portal.

Project Context and Objectives:
The HERMES project took place in the context of an environment of Globalisation and the rapid exchange of information and knowledge transfer. The HERMES project particularly focussed on the issues relating to sustainable development, especially in Transportation Research & Development (R&D) and the need for international collaboration and exchange of information and ideas in transport research. To facilitate this, HERMES set out to create a gateway where transport researchers could share, access and exchange their research information to an International/Global audience and thereby facilitate international and long-term collaboration.
After 18 months of the project, the preceding research concerning the current state-of-the-art in transport research databases/projects led to the design and development of a common portal for accessing information from transport research databases of past and current research projects on an international level. This was achieved with the cooperation of database managers since there are issues of confidentiality and data protection of information held in such databases. However, the project soon learned that bringing these databases together was not a straightforward task, since database architectures are not standardised and there are issues such as Latin/non-Latin based databases and different approaches to data mining had to be employed.

A further objective of the HERMES project was to use this portal to engage the major players in international transport research in coming together to discuss the issues relating to the lack of international collaboration and how these obstacles could be overcome. As a result of round table discussions at the International Workshop held in Paris in April 2013, organised by the HERMES project, in which a highly targeted audience representing the global transport research community participated, led to a list of recommendations that aim to develop in the long term a truly global transport research community. The context of the recommendations will lead to less duplication of research efforts and development of truly innovative solutions to transport problems and identification of topics for future collaborative research. To assist this, the transport research portal will be kept alive for 5 years after the HERMES project has been completed to build on the number of databases accessible and advance the search to accessing publications.
To populate the portal the HERMES partners split the work into 4 modes – rail, road, marine and aeronautic and began compiling currently available research databases with the project countries in the EU, US, Australia and Japan and establishing a dialogue between database managers to determine how their databases are populated and how they assess their content. Other countries were also researched such as Canada, Russian federation and China. The initial sources of information were gathered through desk research, contacts already known to the partners and dissemination activities that targeted transport representatives of Member States, making contact with all the European ministries of transport in Europe to ask for their cooperation to locate most of their transport research databases, contact with the National Contact Points (NCPs) for Transport through the ETNA PLUS project and with relevant people within the Member States to locate their transport databases as well as their managers. Contact was also made with ECTRI, the OECD and TRB. At the same time, the HERMES partner, UIC, prepared a questionnaire enabling various universities, research centres and/or companies to respond to the request of the HERMES consortium about the content of their databases. One of the initial outcomes from the questionnaire was that the definition of a database was not as obvious as the consortium had expected. For example, the difference between the information included in the databases was often defined and organised differently according to the host institution/structure. There were varying levels of responses across the 4 modes and these responses were organised according to their geographic location. An informal agreement was also established with the coordinators of TRIP (Transport Research and Innovation Portal), to establish how many contacts they currently had in their database and how the two projects could collaborate.
There were issues related to gathering this information including finding the right contact person with regard to accessing a database, i.e. the named database manager could actually be an Administrator and then trying to get them interested in considering the HERMES project issues and justifying spending time on it. Also, there were difficulties in discussing the technical aspects of linking databases to the portal in its initial phase as the technical specifications of the HERMES portal were not available from the project outset. Another issue was that many European databases were often outdated due to a lack of funding to maintain them.
Once the current state of global information exchange on transport related research was completed, the frequency with which cross continent access to the various databases was established and the issues of restricted access to some databases in the EU, USA, Australia and Japan were addressed. Some of the barriers identified to accessing cross border databases are: a lack of response from database managers; language issues; lack of resources; publicly not accessible databases; different platform technologies; lack of cross continent economic interest and contact information issues. Once these issues were identified a “test server” was set up on the coordinator’s server at Newcastle University in the UK to begin the work on the development of the portal. These issues were also topic areas for the HERMES International Workshop where the attendees gathered were important players in transport research worldwide, and represented Industry, Academia, Research establishments and governmental bodies from the EU, Japan, Australia, the US and other regions. For example, there were professionals from Universities, including Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Florida International University; University of Helsinki; University of Aveiro; Tel Aviv University and University of Liege, ANAST. Also, business leaders from Transport related companies included Elsevier; Railweb GmbH; International Union of Railways and AirRT and professionals from Transport Research centres - NLR - National Aerospace Laboratory; National Aerospace University "KhAI"; Institute of Transportation Economics and the Transportation Research Board (TRB).
The portal was also demonstrated at the HERMES Workshop where delegates were shown the basic functions of: a general Search; a Database search; a Search by Country and a Help button. At this point in the portal development, users could request a login, a username and password to access the information. The workshop was a good forum to disseminate the portal and after the general session, delegates came to see the portal presenter and register for a username and password. The portal was well received by the delegates and speakers with constructive comments concerning its development.
The Workshop attendees also had an opportunity to be actively involved in the workshop and to express their views on any shortcomings of current international research collaboration actions to identify obstacles to the development of cross border collaborative research programmes and explore means to remove such barriers.

In the context of collaboration, the HERMES project also negotiated solutions to obstacles via stakeholders in the project including TRIP; TRB/TRID; J-STAGE and Elsevier. The collaboration between HERMES and J-STAGE (Transport Research database of Japan) in particular, resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed. The collaboration between TRB/TRID in the USA proved to be a highly successful collaboration, which was highlighted at the Annual TRB event in Washington, USA and greatly improved the number of databases and access to them.

Project Results:
The research in the HERMES project had to follow a logical process to ensure the issues relating to the barriers to collaboration of transport researchers and hence the development of a portal to aid collaboration. To facilitate this, the work in HERMES was split into 6 Work Packages (WP) with WP6 being the project management element of the process.

The initial Work Package (WP1) had the aim of identifying all the transport research databases within the EU, US, Japan and Australia and other countries of interest, to establish a dialogue between database managers and determine how their databases are populated and how the content is assessed. Regarding databases in Europe, this included searches in all nation states to determine if any were held by, for example, Transport Ministries, Research Institutions, Universities etc., that did not inform the EU’s Transport Research Innovation Portal (TRIP) or other EU databases. This task also collated similar information from other countries of interest such as, for instance, Canada, the Russian Federation and China.

The outcome of this task provided the consortium with the most comprehensive and up to date list of transport research databases worldwide. Since the beginning of the project in November 2011, mode specific Excel documents were produced that contained the most up to date list of transport research databases worldwide. After 6 months of research amongst the different geographic areas, the HERMES project team had identified a significant number of databases. The Excel database list was used to commence the IT activities to establish access links with the HERMES portal. The lists of databases were regularly updated throughout the project and continue to be updated, even though the project has finished. In addition, contact from this project appears to have been a good incentive for some research centres to update their databases and get involved in the activities of HERMES. The initial task in WP1 led to rewarding and interesting proposals to further the objectives of the project. The project team looked for more visibility about the expected outcomes of the project in order to be able to communicate more precisely on the project and make it more attractive for research centres, universities or national ministries to get involved in it.

There were various difficulties in relation to contacting the relevant people (by e-mails or above all by telephone), especially database managers. The four transport modes represented in the consortium were able to produce interesting results and especially managed to identify important new databases.

The current state of the art is the result of the work carried out by all project partners identified that finances and language were the most important difficulties encountered by the project team during the research. Many databases are now inactive or have not been updated for years because of the lack of resources to maintain them. In addition, many databases were only accessible in their national language and information not translated into English or, when translated, only sections of the information accessible in the national language were available in English. In addition, another main obstacle to this data collection was also that many important databases couldn’t be accessed publicly.
Knowledge of these limits lead to a more accurate overview about the difficulties for transport research databases to interact with each other but also about benchmarking the current state of global information exchange on transport related research, through consultations with database managers.

To follow-on from this initial review of the current state-of-the-art in transport research databases, a second task was to benchmark the current state of global information exchange on transport related research, through consultations with database managers. The task identified the frequency by which cross continent access to the various databases was taking place. This task also addressed the issue of restricted access to some databases between within the EU as well as between the EU, US, Australia and Japan, to identify the causes for limited information exchange.

Database managers
Consultation with database managers was facilitated by the creation and dissemination of a questionnaire. The questions and topics were discussed amongst the partners and identified as being relevant to access the type of information required. The main focus of the database accessibility in the questionnaire focused on obstacles, both practical and technical. In the initial stage, a framework of closed and open questions was devised for each topic (obstacle). The second stage was the formation of the questionnaire, which was divided into two areas – general information about the database managers and databases and the other, which focused on issues and barriers. The barriers were further divided into the practical barriers, such as language, legislative, financial issues, lack of response from other database managers, cultural and commercial interest/patented ideas and technical barriers, such as: cross continent accessibility issue, different database structure, search algorithms, keywords, character set obstacles, outdated databases, restricted access to other databases and schema cross walking issues. There were 221 contacts and each database manager was then invited to participate in the identification of these barriers as they related to them and their mode, to respond to the questions and highlighting anything perceived to be a strength or weakness on their part.

Examples of the results from databases managers to the questionnaires were as follows:

Practical Issues
Language Language barriers are an issue since many of them are in English Only and database managers have to limit their linking to English only databases. Conversely, some databases are not in English and limited to that country’s language.
Legislative Database from World Transit Research explained that they obtain permission from all Journals prior to them publishing links on their database. They publish only abstracts from Journals and link to original sites.
Financial Issues
One of the responses was that the database manager only has a small budget for functional upgrades of their database. They would like to link with other databases but they don’t have the funds available.
Lack of response from database managers There were no responses that database managers felt they would have a lack of response from other database managers.
Cultural Differences There were no cultural differences noted from our questionnaire results.
Commercial Interest/Patented Ideas One database manager who filled in the questionnaire expressed that they are managing a non-public database due to commercial interests. The reason for lack of response from other database managers could be a commercial sensitivity in the content of their data.

Technical Issues
Cross continent activity issues No cross continent accessibility issue was noted from the questionnaire results. This is most likely due to the fact that none of the respondents had made cross continent database links.
Different Database Structure
Different database structure is among the biggest issues that have been reported in the questionnaire responses. Database managers reported that they use custom made an SSIS data warehouse which does not use a standard data format and that causes a lot of problems linking with other databases.
Other database managers explained that they are linking the content of their database with TRB’s RiP database via Excel spread sheets. This isn’t an actual linking of the database, rather the content of the spread sheet is being synched. They experienced some minor problems with slightly different database field structures and indexing protocols, but their databases are so similar that this different structure doesn’t cause larger problems.
Search Algorithms Issues No different search algorithm issues were noted from the questionnaire results. However, practical research carried out by the HERMES partners and this has illustrated that this will be an issue on a practical level.
Keyword Issues No different keyword issues were noted from the questionnaire results. The coordinators set up a test server and in consultation with TRB and TRIP began to test the linking of the databases. Certain issues were identified concerning keyword searches and these were addresses later in the project.
Character Set Obstacles Specific database formats and character sets can make it difficult for databases to link with each other.
Outdated Databases
A few database managers replied that they periodically monitor all links on database and remove those that are no longer valid. This is not difficult work, just very time consuming.
Restricted Access to other databases A response was received from a database manager with restricted access to their database and they expressed that they have no intention linking with other databases.
Schema crosswalking issues No schemas crosswalking issues were noted from the questionnaire results. Crosswalk is a table in database that shows identical elements in more than one database schema. Crosswalk can help databases to use different metadata schemes to share information. Issues for crosswalking occur because one scheme can have a field that does not exist in another scheme or schemes have different data formats.
One of the main problems of crosswalking is the different degrees of equivalency: one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, and one-to-none. This means that when mapping individual elements, often there are no exact equivalents. Meanwhile, many elements are found to overlap in meaning and scope. For this reason, data conversion based on crosswalks could create quality problems.
Other Technical issues
Database managers were asked to describe any other technical issues that might occur with database accessibility.
Issues of no meta tags attached to records in the database were reported. As an answer to the problems database managers suggested that hyperlinking to their database site might be the best solution.
For all the databases whose platform or structure is so different that it would need a lot of modifying (Japanese databases with different code tables, databases in PDF format, etc.) a hyperlinking is the easiest solution to access their data. Those hyperlinks can be listed in the HERMES portal as external links.
Other identified issues Project partners, who were identifying Transport Research databases, noticed that a lot of databases are not really a database but list of records in PDF or Excel format. Those lists still have valuable content for HERMES, but the main obstacle is how those lists can be exploited.
The easiest solution was to gather those documents (PDF, XLS, DOC…) and link them on the portal as external database sources. The downside is that data from those lists cannot be searchable among other records in the database. This solution also linked with one of the database managers who said their platform is very rigid and hard to link with.

The results of the questionnaires were very limited due to the small amount of feedback or willingness to complete the information required. Initially, some database managers did not see enough advantages to linking to the Transport Research Portal, especially since there was no working prototype at this point. Although this was a disappointing result in some ways it was not surprising as there was a distinct lack of transport research database portals currently on the internet.

The issues identified also helped in shaping the format and content of the HERMES International Workshop held in April 2013 at the UIC Headquarters in Paris, which not only launched and promoted the transport research databases portal but also created the agenda for the meeting with the database managers who attended to discuss and review the way forward and promote all the advantages of the portal.

The information gathered this far in the other reports was building up a clear idea for the project of how to best utilise the feedback for the benefit of the development of the portal and focussing activities which brought the common portal into practice and reality.

A further report in WP1 carried out a detailed analysis of the information available in the databases already identified, the structure of their content, the frequency of information update and the architecture of their search engines. This led to an analysis of research themes on past and present funded research, to allow HERMES to identify commonalities in research themes between regions and also assess each region’s needs and priorities. The research identified different regions (EU, US, Australia and Japan) using case studies of past research projects that addressed similar topics that were used for assessment and comparison later in the project in Work Package 4.
Cooperation between TRIP and TRB/TRID and the HERMES project
Another one of the objectives of the HERMES project was to improve collaboration between projects and this was achieved by using the opportunity of setting up the initial linking through the portal with EU-based TRIP and the US-based TRB/TRID.

An initial test of linking the portal was given by the link with TRIP, which was difficult, as the platform the database is operating on did not have an API facility to link with other databases. Possible solutions for linking HERMES to TRIP were discussed between the 2 database managers and possible solutions were defined:

• A direct database link to TRIP with “SELECT” only privileges on the database tables.
• Database export and hosting exported database on the HERMES portal
• Web scraping the TRIP database.
• Inclusion of TRIP within a Google Custom Search

After continued technical communications with TRIP and attempts to establish a suitable link, it was decided that the Google Custom Search feature was the best way of providing TRIP results via the HERMES portal.
Cooperation between TRB/TRID and HERMES
Cooperation between the Transportation Research Board (TRB) from the US and the HERMES project started after the kick-off meeting at the beginning of the project. TRID is an integrated database that combines the records from the TRB's Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database and the OECD's Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database. TRID provides access to over 900,000 records of transport research worldwide. Data exchange with TRID and HERMES was established using the TRID API. To date, the TRID API is publicly available (with documentation) and the management at TRID gave the HERMES project informal consent to use it. However, there is no formal agreement in place, which is an issue that will need to be addressed as part of the future portal development.
Cooperation between J-Stage (Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator) and HERMES
At a Project Meeting in 2012, it was agreed by the Consortium and International Experts to link the Japanese database J-Stage with the HERMES portal. More details about linking J-Stage and HERMES portal are provided later on this report.
Once the portal had some data to work with, issues could be ironed out and a “development” version of the HERMES portal was created and testing and importing external transport databases began. The test portal started to include more functionality, successfully using API to extract data from TRID, discussions began and possible cooperation with several other larger transport databases. Integrating a custom search engine to the HERMES portal turned out to be successful decision for including many smaller, yet important external transport databases.
International Workshop
At the Month 18 stage of the project (April 2013), there was a necessity to have a working Portal to launch at the HERMES Workshop on International Collaboration in Transport Research. Both were achieved on time and the workshop took place at the UIC Headquarters in Paris on 25 and 26 April 2013. The workshop brought together international transport researchers and engendered a forum for sharing the results of the questionnaire to database managers and generating feedback from the delegates about their barriers and obstacles to collaboration; discover how much these were mode specific and make recommendations for change. To facilitate the findings from the workshop, transport research contacts from the partners were invited to participate in an on-line questionnaire prior to the workshop and these results would be assessed with the results from the workshop. Both the findings of the questionnaire and the workshop were then evaluated to produce outcomes and recommendations.

The workshop was held over 2 days as this gave the project the opportunity to have a general forum and mode specific breakout sessions that could be evaluated and feedback given during the workshop. There were 83 participants present over the two days from several EU countries, including the US, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, Israel, and Egypt. The mix of nation states present at the workshop exceeded the expectations of the HERMES consortium and also underlined the interest of several countries to undertake a collaborative approach to transportation research.

The HERMES workshop – Day 1
The opening speeches set the scene for the content of the workshop and underlined the importance placed by the EU, the US Transportation Research Board, and Japan on the benefits of international collaboration in transport research and presented current activities, agreements signed, (both multilateral and bilateral) and initiatives, aimed at facilitating a closer international collaboration in transport research. The main message that came from the presentations is that there are continuing efforts to improve the climate for international collaboration in transport research. The talks were followed by a Q&A session between the panel and the audience on the issues that were raised during the opening talks and specific obstacles to international collaboration. The issues identified in this session were:

• Intellectual property Rights (IPR)
o First to file vs. first to discover
• Financial assistance
• Information exchange and collaborative research actions

Information exchange and Collaborative research actions
Short presentations were given to the delegates about various projects that either addressed directly or facilitated cross border information exchange and collaboration in transport research. These were the ETNA PLUS (National Contact Point Network) and the TRIP project that are supported by the European Commission, also TRID supported by the Transportation Research Board in the US. It was at this point that the “HERMES portal”, one of the main activities of the HERMES project, was officially launched. The portal is openly accessible and can query 170 databases from around the world to access information on projects or publications of research topics covering all transport modes. The live demonstration of the portal was received with interest and enthusiasm with constructive feedback from the delegates.

Round table discussions
One of the main features of the workshop was the encouragement of the delegates to actively participate by engaging in discussions, share their experiences and express their views on aspects of international collaboration in transport research. In the afternoon of Day 1, delegates were split into four groups representing the four modes (aeronautics, rail, road and marine transport) and through a moderator were encouraged to identify the issues they considered to be obstacles to international transport research collaboration and debate the solutions to circumvent those. The delegates were then brought together for a general discussion, where the output from the mode specific discussions was presented, and delegates had a general debate around the issue of international collaboration and informed the project of issues that were unique to specific modes. The main issues that were identified are described below for each mode:

Road transport
• Administrative issues
o Some administrative and financial rules can exclude small entities from international collaborative projects
• Language and cultural differences
o There are different strategic views between regions.
• Transport solutions vary between countries Individual solutions to fit culture, geography, strategic outlook
o Legal and institutional issues
• Implementing new technologies arising from research cannot apply to all countries due to problems with regulations
o Fundamental vs. applied research
• International cooperation is more suited to fundamental research (rather than applied research) as it bypasses legal and competition barriers.
• Adopt the US approach where extending fundamental research into applied research takes place in stages.

Air Transport
• Administrative issues
o Distance and time for travel can be a problem for many researchers.
o Team management can be a challenge over long distances. A good personal knowledge of the team undertaking the research in a remote location would alleviate some of the difficulties.
• IPR issues
o International collaboration may be impaired by research that addresses close to market applications.
o Aeronautics research in many cases involves either directly or indirectly military applications with restrictions to information exchange.
• Financing
o Funding opportunities are limited.
o Funding horizon varies between countries (e.g. EU usually three years while the US is one year project duration).

Marine Transport
• Administrative issues
o There is limited up to date information on ongoing projects.
o It is a challenge to find collaborations outside of own discipline.
o Project calls are rarely cross sectoral (multimodal transport research).
• Financing
o Government funding is too focused and based on existing economic strengths.
o Funding for travel is often seen as wasteful
o Funding horizon varies between countries (e.g. EU usually three years while US one year project duration)

Rail transport
• Administrative issues
o The rail industry is unique in that vehicle manufacture is private industry dominated while operations and infrastructure are a mix of public and/or private sectors. As such there are frequently problems of relations between the public and private sectors that can inhibit international collaboration.
• IPR issues
o There is sensitivity of information shared.
• Language and cultural differences
o There is difficulty in identifying common problems. It is often easier for the various actors to comply with local issues of rail transport.
• Legal and Institutional issues
o There are significant differences in standardisation and homologation processes around the world.
o There are interoperability issues that have not yet been solved in the EU, let alone worldwide that influence research needs.
o There is in many instances political influence on determining research orientations.

It can be seen from the above that there are very few issues that are sector specific and there is a high degree of commonality in the concerns of the research community relating to obstacles in international collaboration in transport research. These were addressed more extensively in the general discussion session that followed and produced the following results:

Administrative issues
When governments are setting up various initiatives for international collaboration there is often the practical problem of identifying suitable partners, or “being acquainted with research counterparts from other regions”. International collaboration is not new and has been taking place between researchers for many years but has always been based on “personal contacts”. It was discussed that there are various initiatives that are maybe not well known that can facilitate this process.

• “Enterprise Europe Network” is a scheme that helps bring together partners but rarely for face-to face meetings.
• Ireland provides travel grants for researchers to meet potential partners.
• CORDIS is another source of obtaining information on potential partners and will give the names of organisations who are willing to be a partner, but that does not guarantee that the person from that organisation will be of a high quality.
• The NCP Network can also help towards matching people for collaborative projects.

However, the most successful means of developing collaborations is the personal contact that makes building a relationship of trust with counterparts from other nations much easier. Building such relationships will also facilitate to remove obstacles of distance, as it would make the use communication tools such as videoconferencing much easier to implement, as they work well for an “established relationship” but not so well in “establishing a relationship”.

Funding Rules
It is important to address the differences in funding of projects in various parts of the world. In Europe the funding horizon for projects is normally three years while in the US and to some degree in Japan it is one year. This does pose a significant problem when trying to establish collaborative research projects between the EU, US, Japan and Australia. This is not however absolute. Research funding in the US is not always single partner one-year duration. There are collaborative projects being set-up but they are above a certain scale.

The EU is unique in implementing the collaborative research programmes and the administrative rules are not easily understood by entities outside Europe, especially SMEs. This puts them off from making applications or even exploring the possibilities of entering into such schemes because the uncertainty increases the risk.

It is recommended that some coordination between nation states take place to inform the scientific community of calls for collaborative projects with similar time scales are published that would allow the international research community to develop international collaborative programmes of work. Better communication between policy makers and researchers as well as policy makers between different countries may also assist in solving those problems. In addition, the rules for participation in collaborative research actions should be simplified or better disseminated.

Language and Cultural differences
Language can be an issue for certain countries. An example was provided for Japan where there is a lack of people in organisations with good language skills. Researchers usually translate the information and they are not always aware of the context of the words. An example was given of an Australia/Japan project, private industry led, where profitability was important. The project experienced significant communication problems and eventually was cancelled, as it became financially not attractive due to this obstacle.

Industrial participation
There was no industry participation in the workshop despite invitations sent to several industry representatives. The reasons for non-participation given were; lack of time, travel distance, lack of travel funds.

It was suggested that industry may not be interested in international collaboration due to sensitivities over IPR, financial reasons or because of interest mainly in applied research (i.e. a defined problem and defined output) rather than fundamental research.

It was stated by the EU representative that industrial participation in the Framework programmes overall has gone down to 15% but in transport research industrial participation is 50% which indicates a maintained interest in collaboration by this sector of the industry.

The COST scheme approach
Following the discussions a solution was proposed that would be along the lines of the COST (Cooperation in Science and Technology) scheme. This scheme does not fund research projects, however, it does provide travel and subsistence funding for researchers working on projects with similar themes to meet; present their work and establish a dialogue. The delegates were given details of how the programme works and asked to think of this further and discuss in more detail the following day of the workshop.

The HERMES Workshop - Day 2
The second day of the workshop commenced with presentations of successful international collaborative research projects and was followed by a second round of a general discussion. This aimed to allow the audience to further engage in discussions on ways forward to establish international collaboration in transport research having digested overnight the discussions from the previous day and also points raised after the presentations of past successful international collaborative projects.

The main point that came forward from day two of the workshop was that the formation of partnerships made through personal contacts, which underlines the significance of this issue if future initiatives for international collaboration are to be successful.

The second issue that was raised was the lack of a “multimodal” transport strand in the workshop. It was stated that the EC white papers focus on the four modes and although they encourage multimodal transport, there is a lack of policy to support multimodal transport. It was also suggested that the EC should move towards “Integrated Transport Research Programmes” rather than individual modes. The moderator suggested that the separation into the four modes is a practical approach because the individual modes address different engineering and industry challenges and this separation has allowed those challenges to be addressed more effectively. A multimodal approach is suited to a transport systems approach and calls addressing the issue of “door-to-door” transport effectively address multimodal transport.

A discussion then ensued on the COST programme approach that was proposed at the end of Day 1 of the workshop. These main points came out from this discussion:

• In principle all delegates find this an attractive first step
• It does not require commitment of large funds
• Does not have implications on IPR, homologation, cultural, administrative, financial issues
• Allows personal contacts to be built and exchange of ideas
• Create the insight for the development of projects to address common problems (lobby policy makers, funding authorities for targeted actions or concerted calls)
• Can include industry involvement without risk
• Can easily be implemented (in the EU as soon as H2020)

Commonalities in transport research
After the workshop, the following months of the project included gathering the collected data and classify them into commonalities in research themes between regions and also assess each region’s needs and priorities, an analysis of research themes was also carried out. This included case studies from the EU, US, Australia and Japan of past research projects that addressed similar topics and these are what were used for assessment and comparison. Each of the HERMES partners undertook a selection of mode appropriate projects for analysis and comparison. The aim of the undertaking was to assess the potential for collaborative research projects being set up.

The results of the investigations carried out throughout the HERMES project have shown that all countries employ their research funding instruments in various ways to undertake international collaboration. This is because existing research funding instruments are often non-exclusive with the same instrument being employed for several purposes whilst different purposes may also be clustered. For example, internationalisation may be achieved via projects or through grants and stipends.
The greatest differences among research funders are found in the modalities they employ for managing and monitoring funding instruments. Modalities are important for the strategic development and management of research funding because they determine the costs of administering and allocating funding.
Setting up true international collaborative research funding mechanisms between the EU and other regions is a difficult task. Taking for example a comparison between the EU and the US, there are fundamental differences in the way research funding is organised. Basically in the US, initiatives for Transport Research programming and funding are organized in a bottom up approach, while in Europe they respond to more top down procedures. In the US therefore, the organizing principle is to respond to the requests and needs of Transport stakeholders and to address problems of immediate national or state concern. This implies a focus on applied research and short terms research contracts. In this context, agencies and universities are encouraged to initiate research proposals for funding at local, state and federal level. Non-market based coordination is relatively lacking, with no centralized process by which a research agenda is defined.
By contrast, in the EU, public research programming and funding for transport are defined by reference to the Lisbon Agenda and the Barcelona Agenda, which set a long-term vision for a Knowledge Europe and establish the principles of coordination and harmonization. The triangle of research, education and innovation is the organizing principle of that vision. This implies a mixture of fundamental and applied research and a more long-term research funding horizon.
However, both systems display elements that have the potential to reduce those differences over time:
• In the EU, the top down approach is counter-balanced by a keen and growing competition between member states, regions and local governments to attract competitiveness clusters and R&D activities, while a broad range of stakeholders seek to position their interests in the Commission. The greater volume of transport research funding also is undertaken at “national government” level, rather than at EU level.

• In the US, transport research is also, overall more funded at the Federal level through funds dedicated for research: the market response is effectively complemented by Transportation Pooled Fund Program that effectively allows synergy and leveraging, while FHWA gradually develop more strategic approaches to planning technologies for joint uses by federal and state decision makers, program planners and researchers.

Although positive efforts and steps have been taken towards organizational frameworks that facilitate international research collaboration (including transport) new and more innovative organizational - institutional frameworks need to be in place. However, this is not an easy undertaking and requires fundamental changes at the political level before it can be realised and therefore cannot be achieved in the short term. The main obstacles are:
a) convincing governments of the added value of international collaborative research and,
b) in the current economic climate, scepticism that government research funding to entities outside a nation’s borders is beneficial, despite some evidence for the contrary.
It was mentioned earlier that international collaboration has been carried out in the past, based on “interpersonal” (i.e. scientist to scientist) activities or through governmental bilateral agreements. Therefore, to overcome the aforementioned scepticism it would be important that a mechanism is put in place to enhance scientist to scientist meetings, create international forums of discussion and exchange of ideas and ultimately projects based on the “interpersonal” action model. This will over time create a critical mass of international collaborative projects with demonstrable benefits that could counter scepticism over the establishment of organisational frameworks and policies towards a truly international collaborative transport research model.
The need for this approach has become apparent through consultations with the international community of transport researchers conducted during the HERMES project. Researchers reported that they simply did not know what topics of research their counterparts from other regions were currently engaged in. Publications in international journals were not deemed a suitable indicator because of the time lag between conduct of research and appearance of results in the international literature (up to 3 years in many cases).
Further support comes from interviews with researchers, during the conduct of evaluation of the impact of research projects from all modes carried out in the EU, US, Australia and Japan, under the HERMES project. Project coordinators and participants of those projects revealed that although they were aware that projects with similar or complementary topics had been or were carried out in other regions of the world (through conference proceedings or internet searches) they never had any contact with their counterparts in those regions to discuss in depth those projects.

The personal contact between researchers is therefore very important. In the words of one of the delegates of the HERMES Workshop on International Collaboration in Transport Research: “Even if funding for international collaborative projects was made available today, I simply would not know who does what and where, I would not know who has similar research interests to me, so I can contact him/her and discuss details of an idea for a collaborative project. The only ones that would benefit from this are people who already have contacts and have collaborated in the past”. All researchers present at the HERMES workshop also endorsed this view.

A programme similar to the “Cooperation in Science and Technology” (COST) operated at an international level is therefore proposed as a first step towards facilitating the establishment of truly international collaborative transport research. The COST programme has been successfully implemented within the EU and has acted as the precursor of many successful collaborative RTD projects. It has facilitated the building of close relationships between scientists with similar interests from different member states in Europe, and enhanced the potential for the development of innovative ideas developed under nationally or EU funded projects.

An international COST programme would be relatively easy to implement, it requires a small amount of funding (only travel & subsistence), circumvents many problems of IPR, funding horizon, participation commitment, etc., and for those reasons should not be an overly onerous task for governments around the world to commit to such a programme.

At the policy making level, (i.e. government transport officials, EU policy makers etc.) there is adequate knowledge of the transport policy priorities of other regions. However, this knowledge does not filter down to the research community. Researchers reported that they simply did not know what topics of research their counterparts from other regions were currently engaged in. With the above in mind, policies that can be implemented to facilitate change are:

Coordination and Information
The HERMES portal has already addressed the issue of easy access to current and past transport research worldwide by:

a) accessing a large number of transport databases from around the world,
b) circumventing the database navigation issues making simplifying searches and filtering out unwanted information that would otherwise be present from searches such as Google.
It is proposed therefore to extend the function of HERMES to access transport policy and funding information from transport authorities in the EU, US, Australia and Japan. The HERMES portal ( already builds a database of researchers and will utilise this feature to build groups of common research interest and potentially help form consortia for international transport research projects.

Coordination of existing funding sources
There are several funding sources for individual researchers to undertake research in a country other that that of their origin. This funding is not transport research dedicated but there are no restrictions on discipline either. These include:

Scholarships and Awards
There are currently several funding sources that if properly coordinated can be used for international collaborative research in transport. Such as the Marie Curie Actions, this provides opportunities both for young and experienced researchers to undertake research abroad. Such schemes include:

1. Intra-European Fellowships for career development (IEF)
Those are tailored for experienced researchers looking for postdoctoral fellowships. The aim is to gain new skills and work in other sectors.
2. International Outgoing Fellowships for career development (IOF)
The aim is to bring back and use the knowledge gained in Europe.
3. International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)
This is suitable for top-class researchers from Third Countries to work on projects in Europe. The aim is to develop research cooperation between Europe and other parts of the world.
4. International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES)
This action is especially tailored for the exchange of researchers outside Europe. It helps research organisations to set up or strengthen long-term cooperation with others, through a coordinated exchange programme for their staff.
5. Initial Training Networks (ITN) - Marie Curie Actions
ITNs offer early-stage researchers the opportunity to improve their research skills, join established research teams in other countries and enhance their career prospects.

It is clear that the EU, US, Australia and Japan all offer some form of funding for both young and experienced researchers to undertake research activities abroad. However, none of these schemes is dedicated to transport research but transport research is not excluded. A coordinating platform therefore providing information for suitable opportunities that transport researchers that could undertake those existing schemes would be of benefit.

This approach is also in line with one of the concerns raised at the HERMES workshop, namely the issue of “personal contact” or “acquaintance” between researchers. Utilising the existing schemes for researcher exchanges will build the critical mass of human capital and generate ideas for collaboration since researchers will become familiar with their counterparts abroad and also the skills that could be utilized in a collaborative research program.

The European Research Council
European Research Council (ERC) grants support individual researchers of any nationality and age who wish to pursue their frontier research. The ERC encourages in particular proposals with cross disciplinary boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields and applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches.

There are three ERC core-funding schemes and two additional schemes:

ERC Starting Grants aim to support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe.

ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support researchers at the stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme.

ERC Advanced Grants allow exceptional established research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects that open new directions in their respective research fields or other domains.

Overall Conclusions
It is clear that significant funding sources exist that, if properly coordinated and clear information given to transport researchers of their availability, could enhance international collaboration in transport research and help build an international network of transport researchers.
The European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST) Approach
The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action has been a successful scheme that has been operating for over twenty years in Europe. A recommendation is therefore put forward for policy makers in the US, Australia and Japan to adopt a similar Action for what could be an “International COST Action” with each country funding travel and subsistence for their researchers to participate. Topics for the “Action” could be announced by each country and researchers are invited to join through their local administrator of the International COST scheme. The COST Approach circumvents all identified problems of international collaborative research and due to its relatively low funding commitment would also be politically acceptable by governments.

A rough estimate of cost involved suggest that for a number of 100 transport researchers being involved in an international COST Action (i.e. 10 topics, 10 researchers/topic) involving 3 meetings per annum, at a cost of ~€2,500 per meeting, the total cost per annum would be of the order of €750,000 for each participating country. It is therefore a very cost effective approach in promoting and developing international collaboration in transport research.

From the studies undertaken by the HERMES project and the output of the HERMES Workshop that took place in 2013 the following recommendations are given.

• Access to research information
• Researchers need to have reliable, up to date and easily accessible information on past and ongoing research taking place worldwide. Research databases can fulfil this role but the number of those, navigation issues and even knowledge of their existence makes this an onerous task.
• The HERMES project has already addressed this issue by the creation of a “portal” that accesses several international databases to make retrieval of transport research information a simplified task.

1. Researchers’ network
• Transport researchers need to engage in a dialogue with their counterparts from across the world on topics of common interest, get to know each others’ work and exchange and discuss ideas. At the HERMES conference a web based networking tool for transport researchers was proposed
• This was addressed by the HERMES project and a transport researcher’s database was created in the form of a social networking site where they can upload their profiles, expertise, project presentations and create groups sharing common research interests.

2. Funding opportunities
• There are several funding sources that can be used by transport researchers to engage in international collaborative actions. If a coordination action of those resources is put in place the funds could serve to create collaborative research projects (bilateral or multilateral). A web-based tool to access information on the availability of such funding sources is needed. In the long term this will create a critical mass of research exchanges and collaborations that will build an international community of transport researchers.
• The HERMES portal has the potential to undertake this role of the access point for funding information

3. Access to information on international transport research priorities/needs
• It is important that each region is aware of each other’s transport research needs in order to identify common problems and build international consortia to provide common solutions. The best form of addressing this is again a web-based tool where information on each nation state’s research priorities is identified.
• The HERMES portal could again take up this role as it already incorporates a researchers database where once the research needs in a certain region are identified researchers could access the profiles of their counterparts in those regions, select the ones most closely linked to the required expertise and commence a dialogue for the setting up of collaborative research projects. HERMES has already contacted the ETPs to enquire the possibility of accessing their websites to harvest the relevant information. Similar actions are envisaged with the equivalents in Japan, Australia and the USA.

4. Facilitating contact between transport researchers
• The personal contact between transport researchers was sited at the HERMES Workshop as one of the most important obstacles to international collaboration. It is recommended that funding bodies/agencies (US, Australia, Japan) allocate in the research budget for every project they fund, a small amount for T&S to allow researchers to travel abroad and participate in meetings in the format of the COST action that would allow them to meet and discuss research topics of common interest but most importantly to get to know their counterparts’ that would facilitate the engagement into long term dialogue and the forming of international research consortia.

5. Encourage the engagement of young researchers in international research
• Governments should extend the actions for the exchange of young researchers to undertake research outside their country of origin. In addition to the research experience and scientific knowledge gained by young researchers involved in such schemes, it has been shown that participant in such schemes are more likely to actively engage in international collaborative research projects during their subsequent careers.

The above recommendations are quite straightforward, however they are addressing the needs of the researchers with the aim of creating a self sustaining critical mass of collaborative research actions that will over time provide the evidence of the benefits of international collaboration and in turn influence political decisions to implement truly international collaborative transport research programs.

Portal User Report as of May 2014
The portal has access to Google Analytics, which can produce statistics about the location of users and their average duration on the portal. The usage of the website from its launch to the end of the project is shown in the google analytics report given below. On average there are 200 users daily on the portal and the average session time is 5 minutes which is an average time for most search engines.

The amount of traffic is relatively low compared to well established sites but is deemed very good considering it is a new, it is not a commercial website, it targets a specific audience and has had relatively limited dissemination/exposure to the scientific community. This would be expected to rise significantly if more time and resources were available to do so.
What is perhaps more encouraging is the fact that the return rate is 44% which suggests that several users are returning to the website for information.

It is interesting also that there is significant US traffic, perhaps due to extensive dissemination actions in the US and the TRB’s interest in the value of the HERMES project.

Figure 1. Google Analytics report for website.

Potential Impact:
Dissemination Activities

The diverse dissemination activities made use of many mediums for increasing awareness of the project including, the internet, presentations at events to policy makers and interest groups and in scientific publications. The dissemination and exploitation actions of the HERMES database portal were focused on the promotion of the portal as one of the main goals of the HERMES project. The portal and all of its advantages were brought closer to the audience, fostering the adoption of project results and its impact.

The following promotional tools were presented in the dissemination of the HERMES portal:

• the HERMES project logo,
• the Transport Research Portal logo,
• the HERMES project website,
• the Transport Research Portal website,
• the HERMES project newsletter,
• articles for different journals, brochures, leaflets, and posters to promote the transport research portal.
The dissemination activities included various promotional activities on the internet (websites, invitation letters to target groups, social networks, newsletters) as well as promotional activities on various events (workshops, conferences). Direct marketing was one of the stronger tools to promote the portal. The exploitation and dissemination in the HERMES project and Transport Research Portal involved all partners, including a number of activities targeting the transport research community in the EU and worldwide.

Project logo

As the project progressed and the portal was developed, a further logo was designed to meet the needs of the portal. The first portal logo was designed around the Transport Research Databases name given to the portal when it was in the development stages and being demonstrated to potential users. This is illustrated below:

In the latter stages of the project, the name of the portal was further developed to reflect the results of the project and considering the way forward. The current name of the portal is and a logo has been created to reflect this change.

Press Releases
Press Releases were produced to make relevant stakeholders aware of important milestones and activities in the project. The coordinators produced a generic press release concerning the Kick-off of the project and the partner UIC, to make it more relevant to the rail industry and their members, adapted this. HERMES was also supported by the ETNA PLUS project and a press release was produced aimed at the National Contact Point (NCP) network raising awareness of the project and directing readers to the website. The coordinators, Newcastle University, have a regular newsletter that is distributed across academia and industry and updates on the HERMES project were featured in this newsletter with a very large email distribution. The Workshop held in April 2014 generated a generic press release by the coordinators, which was distributed by all partners to their database of contacts. After the workshop, the coordinators, UNEW and partners UIC, EASN and WEGEMT as a generic release and to their respective modes distributed press releases. All press releases over the lifetime of the project were also uploaded to the HERMES website for viewing and download.

HERMES General Leaflet
A general/generic leaflet was designed and presented to the partners to agree the wording on this leaflet. When this was agreed, a .pdf version was put into the Drop Box facility for partners to download, print and use at workshops and events.

The HERMES Workshop leaflet
The HERMES workshop leaflet was a high quality 2-fold/2sided leaflet, which was originally set up to summarize all the important information about the project objectives and the progress of the work. By 2013, the leaflet was adapted to focus on the HERMES International Collaboration in Transport Research workshop. Pre-event it was adapted to advertise the event and post-event it was changed to reflect the success of the event and the contact details to access the TRP directly. It was used in all contacts made where the workshop was promoted.

An A5 and A4 version of the A0 poster was designed and made into a .pdf document for partners to download and print and take to workshops and exhibitions. The .pdf version was also emailed to contacts and potential delegates for the HERMES Workshop in April 2013. The A4 version was updated to a double-sided version that was used at the EASN Association Workshop on flight physics and propulsion held in Prague from 31 October to 02 November 2012. The use of flyers was to raise awareness of a particular project event or give general information and/or the current status of the project progress.

An A0 sized poster was designed by UNEW to use at Exhibition and Poster events such as the Euro Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation 2012, Barcelona, Spain, 02-03 April 2012. The poster was worded in a generic way to encapsulate the aims and objectives of the project. Contact details and the website were also included. The .pdf version of the poster was put in the Drop Box facility for partners to download and have printed for their own use. It was further used at Exhibition and workshop events.

HERMES Website
The HERMES website was set up during the first month of the project and was continually updated with project progress. The site housed the capacity to download newsletters/press releases/presentations from the workshop held in 2013. Links to the website were made to and from other interested parties and there is a facility to register interest in the project and submit an enquiry on a general basis and for any events. These enquiries were put into an Excel file and used to give advanced information concerning such events as the HERMES workshop. The first enquiry was from Birgitta Sandstedt from VTI, the Swedish National Research Institute. At this point the organisation had just re-launched their website and offered their collaboration with HERMES. VTI became members of the Advisory Group and has offered a great deal of support with the workshop in April 2013 and the development, testing and validation of the portal and researchers database.

The website also contains a link direct to the Transport Research portal where interested parties can then register. The HERMES website will be kept up and running by the coordinators as well as the portal which is now housed at Anyone going to the original addresses for the website and/or the portal will be re-directed to the new addresses.

The HERMES partners were also very active in adding the project to their websites and increasing awareness to the mode specific partners.

Transport Research Portal Site (TRP)
In the beginning months of the project, the TRP website represented the front end of the HERMES portal databases. It was available at:

At a Project Meeting held in Prague at the end of October 2012, the project partners decided that the HERMES portal would include a simple search and advanced search options to begin with. In this advanced search portal the user can specify:

• Projects or publications,
• Transport research databases that are accessible via the internet, but which have content that cannot be accessed via a General Search or Search by Country,
• The transport mode they wish to search (Air, Marine, Road, Rail,),
• Search by Country, which helps the user to find transport research from a particular country.

There were no formal newsletters in the Description of Work (DoW), however partners were active in promoting HERMES via their organisation newsletters. EASN were particularly active in this. The project aims, goals and importance for the scientific – researchers community, as well as its progress were a permanent section of EASN Newsletter. The EASN newsletter has a very broad audience, highly active in aeronautics research both in and outside the European area. It accounts more than 5000 contacts. The project was included in the following EASN newsletters:

• April 2014; November 2013; July 2013; March 2013; December 2012; July 2012; March 2012; December 2011

The project coordinators, UNEW produced an article for the NewRail newsletter that is produced monthly and is highly targeted to the rail sector.

Informal Internal Newsletters
Informal internal consortium newsletters were produced regularly up to August 2012. These are not listed as formal deliverables but gave the partners an overview of the progress of the project as seen by the project manager and gave everyone involved the “big picture”. Copies were put in the Drop Box facility as well as being emailed to partners. After August 2012, these newsletters were replaced with regular video meetings via the Web Ex video conferencing platform as detailed in the six-monthly reports on Project Management.

Attendance/presentations at workshops
The HERMES partners were very active in disseminating the project as a speaker at various events in Europe and Internationally. The project coordinator on an annual basis attended the Transportation Research Board (TRB) event in Washington, USA that has over 10,000 researchers attending from all over the world. The HERMES project was received with great interest and enthusiasm and this was built on over the lifetime of the project. TRB were International Experts on the project and proved to be a valuable ally to the project in terms of their input to the development of the portal and contacts to potential contacts.

The HERMES project had an informal collaboration with the ETNA/ETNA PLUS projects that have built up a network of National Contact Points (NCPs) mainly throughout Europe but also internationally. The NCPs are an important source for disseminating information within their network and encouraging collaboration of researchers, especially in a trans-national sense. The project was invited to present the current status of the portal at the 5th ETNA Forum meeting held in Tallinn, Estonia in 2012, where the emphasis was on encouraging NCPs to make researchers in their area aware that they could use the portal as a source of information and also put information through there as well.

The HERMES coordinator, Dr George Kotsikos presented the project at the following events:

• 3rd EASN Flight Dynamics Workshop in 2013 to a European aeronautic audience,
• 5th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Advanced Materials (ICSAAM-2013) to an international scientific audience,
• Transportation Librarians Roundtable Webinar, (including a 40 minute Q&A session), to an information specialist audience mainly from the US.

At month 18 of the project (April 2013), an International Workshop in Paris, France was organised by the consortium, which focussed on the nature and barriers to international research collaboration. This was further broken down through the use of breakout rooms that were mode specific and required the participants to actively participate in giving their experiences and opinions. These results from the four modes were then analysed and fed-back in the main audience auditorium where a lively discussion and debate took place. The workshop was very well received and connections were made to databases via the portal.

The HERMES project was also disseminated at exhibitions via posters and other dissemination material. At the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation in 2012, the project was represented in a poster and 2-fold leaflets were left in the exhibition area and given to participants in networking sessions. The same leaflets were also used at the RailBE2012 Conference held in Warsaw, Poland that specifically focussed on the Rail mode and the HERMES coordinator and Project Manager were given the opportunity to facilitate break-out sessions and promote the portal. At the 1st Technology and Knowledge Transfer exhibition in Patras, Greece (2012), HERMES was promoted to a scientific audience. The Transport Research Arena (TRA), events were attended by HERMES in 2012 in Athens, Greece and in 2014 in Paris, France. The TRA2014 event had an exhibition area where HERMES was promoted on the UIC stand with a poster; bookmarks and coasters that contained the web link to the portal.

The aeronautic partner in HERMES was EASN and they have been very active in disseminating the aims and objectives of HERMES and encouraging users to the portal. Their activities included:
October 2012: Hermes project material was circulated by EASN-TIS at the 2nd EASN Workshop on Flight Physics and Propulsion in Prague. A plenary session speech was also offered to Hermes project coordinator to present the aims and goals of the project during the Workshop.

December 2012: “1st Technology and Knowledge Transfer Exhibition”
The Hermes project material was circulated at the “1st Technology and Knowledge Transfer Exhibition” that took place on December 8th – 9th, 2012 in Patras, Greece.

October 2013: Hermes project material was circulated by EASN-TIS at the 3rd EASN Workshop on AeroStructures in Milan. A presentation was made during the workshop to present the progress, aims and goals of the project.

One of the approaches for promotion of the HERMES project and database was to contact key people direct. The direct approach results gave the opportunity to present the benefits and opportunities of the HERMES portal and the databases to professional individuals and organisations all over the world.

The following personal contacts were made:

• Dr George Kotsikos, UNEW, made the following contacts:

o Birgitta Sandstedt of VTI in Sweden and her colleague Claes Ericsson who developed and manages the VTI database.

o Met Veronique Feypel of OECD regarding collaboration between HERMES and the OECD. She has provided contact details of the current manager of the OECD database (ITRD, part of the TRID Database), Mr Michel Violland.

o Met the Andrew Meier (General Manager - R&D of ARRB), that works with David George (CEO of CRC for Rail Innovation) and they will be scheduling a meeting with RMIT to discuss Australian databases.

o Met with Caroline Almeras of ECTRI and Lionel Banege (European Commission INCO) to discuss EUTRAIN and the collaboration between us.

o Contacted the Japanese international experts in HERMES and they suggested that we should have a list of their databases in the near future

o Met the Secretary General of FEHRL Mr Thierry Gogar with the view of collaboration between HERMES and the activities of FEHRL.

o Met and discussed with the Secretary General of CEDR, Mr Steve Phillkips, the possibility of link between HERMES and the information provided in the CEDR website

o Met the Coordinator of ERA-Net Transport Mr Peter Wilbers and a member of the consortium Henriette Spyra, in view of setting up closer links between the activities of HERMES and ERA-Net transport web tool.

• Francois Maugere, UIC has made contact with Mr Michel Violland, manager of the ITRD database of the OECD who has agreed to collaborate with HERMES.

• Lisa Loyo, manager of the TRID Database at TRB, described the HERMES project to the TRB’s B0002 Committee at their quarterly meeting. The B0002 Committee advises TRB’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) unit.

• Gregory Mygdakos, EASN – Personal contacts were initiated with key individuals from US, Japan and Australia informing them about the HERMES project, its aims and objectives and asking them to promote this information within its communities.

• In January 2012, WEGEMT began by contacting the various database managers of the different countries/regions, basic information about the HERMES project (website plus further information material) was widely disseminated raising awareness for the HERMES project as well as its aims and objectives to the Marine Industry in Europe. The database managers that will collaborate with HERMES will also include links to the HERMES portal & website from their own portals & websites (and vice versa) thus further increasing the visibility of the project as well substantially disseminating the information/research that gets generated.

Dissemination activities and actions
Advisory Group (AG)
Key support was given to the dissemination activities by an Advisory Group (AG) who attended project and video meetings. Michel Violland, OECD and Luisa Moisio, RSSB were especially active with concern to the International workshop held in April 2013 and promotion of the portal in terms of suggestions for the format and attending on the day whilst TRB were very active in assisting the development of the portal and have made great efforts to trial linking with the portal suggesting solutions to issues. There has been a great deal of support from TRB/TRID with regard to issues relating to connectivity with databases. Lisa Loyo from TRB and Birgitta Sandstedt of VTI both attended the pre-workshop meeting and were very active in the workshop activities and breakout sessions.

ITEJ Japan, one of the International Experts, has been very supportive to the HERMES project and provided information and databases from Japan. There has also been a high level of collaboration in providing issues relating to connecting to databases without a Latin foundation. At the workshop, ITEJ were very active in contributing to the workshop discussions and mode specific breakout sessions.

Kym Nayalon represented the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), at the International HERMES workshop. He provided another dimension to the discussions and continues to be very supportive of the HERMES project.

Further promotion of the HERMES portal was carried out and is here presented in four groups:

• Internet promotion activities.

• Promotion activities at events,

• Direct marketing activities, which are connected with the goal of market uptake and encouraging networking.

• Advertising the Transport Research Portal.

Internet Promotion Activities
All partners were active in promoting the HERMES project and disseminating the results of HERMES via their websites. For example, information about the HERMES project was included on the EASN-TIS website at A link to the HERMES website and also the HERMES portal was also included on their site.

The invitation to join the HERMES portal on project partners webpages
As most of the partners are research associations that represent different modes of transport their websites are accessed daily by the research community throughout Europe. Partners agreed to undertake to include the details of the HERMES portal on their websites. As a result of this, the HERMES project holds a permanent section on the HERMES partners EASN’s website.

The partner, EUMO, prepared a common HERMES portal presentation text, that was sent to all project partners and suggested that they put it on their organisational websites to disseminate the HERMES portal as well as the project itself.

Invitation letter to all NCPs and national representatives related to transport research
The HERMES project manager presented the HERMES project at the Kick-off meeting of the ETNA PLUS project in February 2013. There is a clear benefit to the National Contact Points (NCPs) being able to access the HERMES portal and also pass awareness of this tool onto their client base. In return, the ETNA PLUS project was presented at the HERMES International workshop in April 2013.

To coincide with this, the ETNA PLUS project disseminated the HERMES workshop invitation to their National Contact Point Network and advertised it on the ETNA website. The invitation also invited readers to participate in the HERMES on-line questionnaire.

WBC-INCO.NET is a project based on Coordination of Research Policies with the Western Balkan Countries. It offers the opportunity to raise awareness of all West Balkan Countries in the field of Transport Research and text concerning the promotion of the transport research portal was published on their website.

A LinkedIn network Group “HERMES - transport research database portal” had a growing number of members and was used to promote the HERMES International Collaboration workshop in April 2013.

The LinkedIn profile is still available at the address below and displays news and discussion about the project and the portal:

The Transport Research Portal Twitter profile is still available at the address: @TRANSPortal_net, where it informs Twitter users about latest news and events regarding the Portal. The Twitter account is also generated to follow other transport research related profiles in order to exchange information and attract more visitors. The Twitter account was generated before the official launch of Transport Research Portal on April 2013.

Exploitation of results
The Transport Research Portal (TRP) is designed to grow larger as more Transport research institutions, organisations and databases join. The main goal is to bring the transport research community around the world up to date with information, knowledge and documents that are gathered in one single place.

Researchers using the TRP will have broader options to find documents, have their research better analysed by users and have information about the most important transport research individuals worldwide.
Benefits of the Portal for users are:
• It’s free of charge.
• It is a One-stop portal for Transport research databases, articles and researchers.
• It is simple to use, with a “Google-like” search field.
• Four transport mode search filters are incorporated: Aeronautics, Marine, Road and Rail.
• A simple registration process and exchange of transport research information.
• Significant money savings from other portals where information has a financial cost.
• Users have the benefit of enhanced analysed options.

Opportunities for users are:
• The ability to make primary transport research reports easily to find and share.
• Researchers can be faster and more efficiently informed with up-do-date results in transport research.
• The results of transport research will be better promoted to a worldwide audience.
• Reduction in time wasted on off-target reports and articles, and increase in time spent finding research content that will be particularly useful for the business purpose of the search.
• Companies and SMEs can find international partners to enlarge or start with new business opportunities.
• Wide opportunities of finding references for enhancing research.

The HERMES Transport research portal dissemination has a diverse range of activities to enable the project and portal itself to access the worldwide target audience and it offers the best spread of raising awareness in the medium and long term perspectives.

The Transport research portal will still remain at the centre of the portal future dissemination plans and will be held online for at least future 5 years, also the HERMES project website will be active for the next 3 years.

Dissemination activities will be supported and encouraged by all project partners and different articles and information will continue to be published in various newsletters and journals. Collaboration with other projects such as ETNA PLUS and the EUTRAIN projects will also continue. The ETNA PLUS project is fully aware of HERMES and has given support by providing a speaker at the HERMES International Workshop held in Paris in April 2013. Since then, the project has been kept up-to-date with progress. Since the ETNA PLUS project will last until 2015 this is an ideal opportunity to continue our collaborative efforts and maintain the profile of the portal.

The project has had an impact in the following ways:

• Increased networking among major players in the four modes, especially the aeronautics mode;
• Induced collaboration between Universities, SME’s, Industry and Research Centres with active interests in the four modes especially aeronautics;
• Enhanced communication and networking with major players active in the four modes especially aeronautics research on other continents (US, Japan, Australia), offering a common ground to discuss about possible synergies on the future;
• Strengthened already active cooperation’s, among EU-Japan, EU-Russia, EU–US actors;
• Identified and proposed possible solutions to overcome issues of international collaboration schemes;
• Created a platform ( Portal), offering common ground for opinions, and knowledge exchange;
• Identified possible cross-mode synergies among major players, enhancing intermodality research;
• Set the foundation for International Intermodal Synergies;
• Offered opportunities for Researchers mobility and knowledge transfer among different players.

The international partners, who contributed greatly to the project, have benefited from their efforts and have experienced the following impacts as a result of their involvement in the project.

TRB contribution/Impact
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) participated in the HERMES project as an International Expert. TRB’s main dissemination activity was informing the transportation research community in North America about the portal when it was released in April 2013. Information about the portal was sent to the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials Research Advisory Committee list (AASHTO RAC) and the TRANLIB list (transportation librarians). Additional activities included distributing promotional materials about the portal at the 2013 and 2014 TRB Annual Meeting. The potential impact of the project for the TRB is increased international awareness of TRB and the TRID Database, which is included in the portal.

VTI contribution/Impact
The Library and Information Centre (BIC) at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) is a national resource for supplying and disseminating information in the field of transport research. VTI was international experts in the HERMES project and offers traditional library services and specializes in information searches, competitive intelligence and dissemination of research results on all types of traffic modes. They run the Swedish Transport Research Portal and develop websites and databases. Working together with international organizations, they are helping to gain exposure for Swedish transport research, and provide information about ongoing research and published results to sources like the Transport Research Database Portal and TRID, the TRIS and ITRD database , which is the world’s largest bibliographic resource in the field of transport.

VTI was the first contact made to the project via the website Contact function and has found the HERMES project very valuable. They have played a vital role in encouraging and facilitating international cooperation through the development of the HERMES international platform/portal. They appreciate that cooperation is not only important from a cost efficient perspective (that is avoiding duplication of work and funding) but is also vital for the quality of research results and are also likely to be better when people from different cultures with different backgrounds work together. Ms Birgitta Sandstedt became a valuable member of the Advisory Group as result of this contact.

It is the sincere wish of VTI that there is a continuation of the development of the portal; activities in this area gain from sustainability and continuous development; they are all but a precondition for complete success. The representative from VTI has stated that:

“The platform/portal has a great potential and can be further developed into being the one and only entrance for the transportation research community with access not only to projects and published results but also to international organizations, open data, a researchers’ network, conference calendar and more”.

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