The University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research (IRR) has been announced as a Centre of Excellence for the new £90m UK Rail Research and innovation Network (UKRRIN). This gives the go ahead for the university’s £30nn Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, within its Institute of Railway Research. The centre will develop the rolling stock of the future.
Within UKRRIN, the Institute of Railway Research’s task will be to develop a new generation of rolling stock that lasts longer, is more energy efficient and is less costly to maintain. As leader of UKRRIN’S Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, the IRR will be the conduit for almost £30 million of research funding. UKRRIN has been established after a successful £28m bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to create four rail Centres of Excellence, backed by commitment from the rail industry to invest more than £60m in research, development and innovation activities at these Centres over the next ten years.
In addition to the Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, led by the University of Huddersfield – in partnership with Newcastle University and Loughborough University – there are also Centres of Excellence in Digital Systems, led by the University of Birmingham, and in Infrastructure, led by the University of Southampton. There is also a Centre of Excellence in Testing, to be led by Network Rail.
UKRRIN aims to build the capacity of the rail sector to develop, deliver and deploy new technologies, helping the UK maintain its position as a global leader. A key role in UKRRIN means that the Institute at Huddersfield – based in its own purpose-built labs and offices – will equip itself for a big expansion in activity. The Institute already has facilities that include a £4.5m test rig that is unique in Europe. New equipment will include an extended range of full-scale advanced test rigs to accelerate the adoption of new technology for the next generation of rolling stock.