School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


11 Jul 2017

Transport technology from Loughborough University will shape the future of Britain’s railways as part of a £92 million innovation venture

Roger Dixon

‌‌Loughborough University will draw upon its award-winning transport systems research when it joins a £92 million academia and industry partnership aimed at developing the future of British railways.

Eight universities will form three centres of excellence in the collaborative nationwide scheme known as the UK Railway Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).  Their focus will be on improving important aspects of the industry such digital integration, cyber security, energy management and rail infrastructure.  Working with the consortium are 17 organisations linked with the rail sector including Network Rail, HS2 Ltd, Transport for London, British Steel and Transport for London.

Overseeing Loughborough’s involvement is Professor Roger Dixon, Head of the Control Systems Research Group in the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University.  He said: “It’s fantastic that we’re involved, and great that we’re able to bring our unique knowledge and expertise in control system science and engineering to the consortium.”

The three centres of excellence formed of the seven HE institutions are:

  • Digital Systems - located at the University of Birmingham. It will focus on railway control and simulation, data integration and cybersecurity, condition monitoring and sensing, and improved methods for technology introduction. 
  • Rolling Stock - led by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the University of Newcastle and Loughborough University. It will focus on high value rolling stock systems, whole life asset optimisation and through-life management, and energy management.
  • Infrastructure - led by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and Heriot Watt University.

The project is being funded by UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), which gave £28.1 million to the University of Birmingham, which is leading the scheme.  A further £64 million was invested by 17 industrial partners including Alstom, Siemens and Bombardier Transportation.  The UKRRIN will support the Government’s ambition to be a leading player in the global rail market.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:"The UK's world-renowned leadership in science, research and innovation is helping to solve a range of national and global challenges, and the breadth of the projects funded today means this will continue.  Through our Industrial Strategy and £4.7 billion investment for research and development, we're ensuring we capitalise on the great work taking place in universities across the UK and remain at the forefront of innovation."

Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director at Bombardier Transportation, said: “Bombardier Transportation is very pleased to be involved in UKRRIN.  We believe this is a significant opportunity for the UK to develop and coordinate a network of world class facilities and capabilities to further support developments within the rail industry.”

Further information can be obtained from the UKRRIN website:

Athena Swan Bronze award

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The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU