RSSB's research and development programme supports industry’s needs in a wide range of areas, from tactical incremental innovations to long-term step changes in technology. It includes strategic research aimed at helping achieve the industry and government’s long-term goals for the railway.

The research programme is predominately funded by the Department for Transport. We also owe a big thanks to many organisations across the industry that provide significant in-kind support to research, co-fund work with us, and pioneer putting the findings into practice.

The rail industry is involved throughout a research project. The stages of the process are shown in the diagram below.

Research Process

Key Research Areas

We currently have major research programmes in adhesion and performance. Our horizon scanning activities inform the research programme and help rail decision and policy makers prepare for the future. See the Sustainability section for our work on cutting emissions and social value.


Come along to a free Research and Innovation online event. Events range from interactive showcases to highlight a range of current projects and new findings, to dissemination workshops for specific initiatives.

Tailored Advice

We can provide help you and your organisation to implement findings through:

  • Tailor-made research and innovation summaries
    To help you understand how research can tackle your organisation’s business challenges.
  • Showcase events Hosted at your premises and tailored to your interests.
    We will brief staff on the latest findings and discuss the opportunities and practical challenges of new approaches.
  • One-to-one advice and guidance
    To help you make the most of our research.