Indian Railways, Birmingham Univ launch joint research & training programs

New Delhi: Chairman, Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav and Karan Billimoria, Chancellor, University of Birmingham announced the launch of a Joint Masters programme in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration in the academic year 2020-2021 by the National Rail Transportation Institute (NRTI). Rajesh Tiwari, Member Traction and other senior officials of Railway Board along with Professor David Eastwood, Vice-chancellor, and faculty members of University of Birmingham were present on the occasion.

Yadav said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to develop a railway university which can look into all aspects of transportation. Over the last few years, a lot of transformational work has been done by the Railways. He added that the focus has been on capacity enhancement and modernisation of railways and the Indian Railways looks forward to a long term association with the University of Birmingham.

Eastwood said that the University of Birmingham is delighted to work with Indian Railways. He said that the University of Birmingham has a proven track record in delivering high-quality programs. He expressed his gratitude for getting the opportunity to work with Indian Railways.

The program that has been launched, provides for a dual Master of Science (MSc), that would see NRTI students obtaining two post-graduate degrees from both institutions, after spending a year studying at each institution. It will also provide flexibility for some modules of the programme to be delivered online in the form of a Postgraduate Certificate and support for undergraduate teaching by University of Birmingham faculty at NRTI. This initiative will benefit NRTI students by providing them access to world-class expertise and facilities in railway systems at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE). BCRRE is also expected to gain valuable insights into India’s transport sector and get involved in related research and development issues in the country.

The initiative has been taken under the Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Transportation Systems that had been set up by an MoU between the National Rail Transport Institute with the University of Birmingham on 18 December 2019.

Earlier, during the day, faculty from the University of Birmingham conducted a workshop on  European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2 signalling which was attended by officials from Railway Board, Northern Railway, Railtel and other zonal railways by video link.

Significant progress has been made in the research project on the analysis of line capacity improvement with ETCS level 2 on the Jhansi Bina Section of the North Central Railway (NCR). This would be the first formal project under the 2019 MoU which will develop a combined signalling and operations-based simulation of the Jhansi Bina section of NCR using the Birmingham Railway Simulation Suite.

The National Rail Transport Institute was set up as a deemed to be university and has been operational since 2018. In addition to schools and departments in various disciplines, NRTI aims to develop interdisciplinary Centres of Excellence which would be collaborative constructs to promote research and education to the transportation sector. NRTI’s strategy is focussed on sourcing the best expertise from around the world from leading global institutions through institutional partnerships for collaborating on developing curriculum, research projects and executive education programs. 

The University of Birmingham is home to the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) with over 150 academics, researchers and professional services staff, delivering research, education and leadership to the global rail industry. The BCRRE is the largest university-based centre for railway research and education in Europe, involved in developing new technologies alongside higher education programmes, research and innovations in climate change, aerodynamics and international benchmarking, power systems and energy use, railway control and operations simulations.


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