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Strengthening rail research cooperation between Europe and emerging international markets for an integrated international research area

Final Report Summary - GLOBAL VIEW (Strengthening rail research cooperation between Europe and emerging international markets for an integrated international research area)

GLOBAL VIEW was the first and thus pioneer project of its type in rail sector, fully funded by International Cooperation Programme of European Commission. The major objectives of project were to disseminate the results of selected EU projects carried out within the Fifth and Sixth Framework Programmes (FP5 and FP6) and to learn from similar projects of the international partners in order to identify needs and priorities for joint future international rail research projects, with a particular focus on the participation within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

An expert database was planned to compile rail research experts, networks and institutions interested and involved in international cooperation. In addition to a listing of all resources, the contacts will be put into a web-based database. The link to existing networks shall ensure a lifespan of this information source beyond the lifespan of the project.

GLOBAL VIEW clearly targeted specific emerging regions relevant to the European Railway stakeholders, as being China, India and Russia. The end result should be to pave the way for an integrated international railway research area.

To get there, GLOBAL VIEW proposed a dissemination campaign based on two axes:
1. dissemination of railway research project from FP5 and FP6 and learn from similar activities done so far within the identified emerging regions;
2. identification of needs and priorities for the joint international cooperation on railway research in view of FP7.

With this, GLOBAL VIEW went further than a dissemination action, already addressed by the FP5 and FP6 projects. It actually provided immediate results on:
1. cross-fertilisation between international rail researchers and industry for a rapid option and transfer of European technologies and gain know ledge on the research results in those emerging markets;
2. define jointly international research priorities and future cooperation areas , suitable for application in those emerging regions;
3. increase visibility of European industry technology solutions, aiming at wider acceptance European standards and support the industry to respond to emerging markets needs;
4. implementing the European Commission's research ambitions on international cooperation in rail research.

Three workshops and technical visits were held, in Moscow, Lucknow and Johannesburg. Besides learning from each other and discussion, many bilateral contacts were made for exchange of information and possible future research cooperation. Also – except for the Moscow workshop - at least a start was made to come to research priorities of the region. These research priorities were finalised in a later stadium of the project. However time prevented to compare all regions priorities and discuss them. This had to be limited to a 'paper' exercise. But, nevertheless, we arrived to these research priorities which could lead to common future research projects on a number of issues and problem we all have in common.

On the other hand it also became clear that where for example in Europe we need much further technical development, other regions sometimes have systems in place, we only wish for. One of the reasons for this could be that the organisation of a railway system in a certain area is completely different from the way we handle this in Europe with the many borders and many different systems and the many different authorities wit h power of decision. Some regions have separate rail systems for freight and passenger transport, which also make quite a difference.

Concluding we can say that there are a number of options for future research cooperation but also many issues where we can learn a lot from each other.

International rail research contact database
This activity concerned the clustering of the contact data of international rail research for the benefit of the database. Three especially designed questionnaires have been prepared during the project and sent out to the associated international partners.
These are: questionnaire 1 - research projects and researchers, questionnaire 2 - characterisation of railway sector general questionnaire and questionnaire 3 - railway infrastructure management, operators and manufactures. Complete results of the questionnaires have been received from VNIIZhT (Russia) and RDSO (India). There were no results from South Africa despite many repeated requests and promises. Finally, using the information that was made available, the international rail contact database has been set up, using the data presented by the remaining project partners A final report has been written by IST and is published on the GLOBAL VIEW website .

Common research priorities for possible future cooperation
Apart from during the regional workshop in Moscow - where the full program and limited time left no possibility for further discussion - regional research priorities were discussed during the India and South African workshops. Unfortunately, because of the absence of the Indian partners during the final workshop in Berlin, no discussion took place about possible common future research priorities. These had to be distilled from the research priorities from the three regions. Russia, India as well as South Africa are very positive and motivated about future research cooperation on a global level with each other and with the EU rail stakeholders and the European Commission.

Transformation of railway condition data into operational information
Many measurements systems are being deployed in today's railways in order to generate early warning alarms with operational staff, to prevent catastrophic incidents.

Electromagnetic condition monitoring
All subsystems/components of a locomotive, track circuit, traction supply, etc. have their own electromagnetic 'footprint' that changes under fault conditions. By measuring this electromagnetic footprint with antennas or measuring voltages and currents, a lot of information can be obtained as to the condition of these subsystems. Research must be conducted into using new technologies to analyse, model, measure and process these signals to achieve condition monitoring.

The global interactions worked very well during and after the three regional and the final workshops. Both interesting research initiatives and projects were presented from the side of the European stakeholders as well as from the side of the global participants. Many contacts were made to exchange further information on certain issues. Certain research priorities Europe deals with have already lead to solutions in one or more of the 'regions' and vice versa. On the other hand there are a number of problems which could be solved through future common research, such as operations issues, environmental issues – cleaner diesel engines and noise reduction, HR training issues, etc.

For future cooperation it has to be noted that the 'rail world' in these regions is organised in a completely different manner than in Europe. For instance there are differences in the responsibilities for investments, responsibilities for research to be undertaken and the funding thereof, cooperation schemes with universities, etc. Universities in many cases seem to play the role of suppliers to the needs of the operators; even the industry is some time very closely related to the operators. Infra structure managers are many times the same organisation as the operators or even both are governmentally led.