Strategic partnerships

Strategic academic partnerships offer RSSB a cost-efficient and flexible way of delivering research and innovation projects. Our long-term relationships with academic partners allow us to access specific areas of expertise that complement and enhance RSSB technical skills. These partnerships also allow us to undertake research that might be difficult to commission through standard procurement. 

We currently have strategic partnerships with:

Centres for Doctoral Training

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), with the aim of bringing together diverse areas of expertise and providing an exciting environment for students to forge lasting links with industry.

RSSB has funded more than ten industrial studentships on various topics, such as tribology, data and robotics. So far, we have collaborated with the University of Nottingham, Heriot-Watt University, University of Southampton, University of Manchester, and University of Sheffield.

The value of these collaborations comes from the close alignment of the PhD studentships to current industry challenges. They provide a cost-efficient way to support fundamental research that complements RSSB’s cross-industry research programme. The CDTs also provide an opportunity to promote careers in rail amongst young researchers.

Students are usually funded for four years. They work closely with an RSSB industrial supervisor, alongside their academic tutor, and are invited to share their work with industry groups and participate in relevant initiatives.

UK Rail Research and Innovation Network

The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) is designed to create powerful collaboration between academia and industry. It offers the rail industry access to purpose-built, world-leading facilities and skills, to drive innovation and accelerate new technologies and products from research through to market applications.

RSSB was a founder member of UKRRIN and co-ordinates a number of key network activities.

UKRRIN is funded by the UK government and leading industrial partners. It is based on four Centres of Excellence:

  • Digital Systems – led by University of Birmingham in partnership with Lancaster University, Imperial College London, Swansea University and University of Hull.
  • Rolling Stock — led by University of Huddersfield in partnership with Newcastle University, Loughborough University, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol, Brunel University and University of Nottingham.
  • Infrastructure — led by University of Southampton in partnership with the University of Nottingham, University of Sheffield, Loughborough University and Heriot-Watt University.
  • Testing – led by Network Rail in partnership with Transport for London and Quinton Rail Technology Centre (QRTC).

Cranfield University is also an affiliate member of the network.