Shaping the future of academic partnerships and rail research at RRUKA Annual Conference
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Over 200 experts from both industry and academia came together yesterday, to share ideas and help shape the future of academic partnerships and rail research in the UK.

Held at Kings Place, London, RRUKA’s 6th annual event gave delegates the opportunity to hear about current research and explore the ‘Blue-Sky’ village exhibition featuring stands from 9 universities and 6 industry and collaborative organisations.

Iain Roche, Head of Innovation at HS2, spoke on the challenges of building Europe’s largest infrastructure project, taking inspiration from other projects such as Crossrail, and the need to put people at the heart of its delivery. Ernesto Sicilia, Chairman and Managing Director and Marco Caposciutti, Technical Director, Trenitalia, provided a European perspective on collaboration and innovation including examples of how innovative remote conditioning can deliver 8% of savings in train maintenance costs.

Clive Roberts, Professor at University of Birmingham, and Sharon Odetunde, Head of Academic Partnerships at RSSB, provided an update on the development of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), covering how best to engage with the network, and the need to get research from universities more quickly into the industry. They also shared a proposal for the consolidation of RRUKA and UKRRIN in order to deliver five core functions to best meet rail industry needs.

Alex Knight-Percival, from Unipart Rail and Manchester Metropolitan University, was named as this year’s winner of the Best Young Rail Researcher Award for his research into mapping of the electromagnetic environment on the railway. Alex custom-built a sensitive magnetic field detection system for the underside of a rail vehicle. By approaching the problem in a different way and making condition measurements using a train borne system, the monitoring of track circuits can be made easier and cheaper improving service reliability for passengers.

(L-R) RRUKA Academic Co-Chair Stuart Hillmansen and 2017 winner of the RRUKA Best Young Researcher Award Alex Percival-Knight.

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