May 2013

Establishing a CompreHEnsive transport Research information Management and Exchange System

The HERMES project held its international transport workshop in Paris on 25th and 26th April 2013. The aim of the workshop was to foster international collaboration in transport research and discuss the barriers to participation and demonstrate examples of good collaborative projects.

The workshop was supported and attended by Mr Alessandro Damiani, the Head of Unit, DG Research & Innovation at the European Commission. After an overview of collaboration in the USA and Japan, HERMES showcased the Transport Research Portal that has been designed and developed by the HERMES project. The portal is a Gateway for transport researchers to access databases and projects in rail, road, marine and air Mode specific breakout sessions were attended by experts who discussed the issues around cross-border collaboration and offered suggestions about how to overcome these obstacles. These experts then came back together to see the overview of the results and what measures/initiative/solutions were identified and areas of commonality and as a result a drafting of Guidelines on policies/measures was started.

For the rail sector, the significant role played by political issues around the development of research and, when related, their possible market uptake opportunities, was especially underlined by the participants as one of the most inconvenient for the sector compared to other transport modes. The difficulty to identify common problems at the international level was also one of the main difficulties identified by the participants in the different breakout sessions.

Day two of the workshop was taken up with case studies of successful international collaborations in the four modes of road, rail, air and marine. In the rail segment, the International Railway Research Board (IRRB) was presented to the participants as it represents a unique initiative from the rail sector regarding cooperation of international researchers. Mr. Boris Lapidus, IRRB Chairman, presented a short video clip of the main achievements of the group with the adoption of a Strategic Document in 2011, the launch of the Rail Research Portal in 2012 as well as the organising of the first “UIC Innovation Awards”. He also introduced some of the objectives for 2013 with emphasis on the establishment of a common list of research and innovation priorities at the international level to be developed in future IRRB activities. To conclude, Mr. Lapidus called for a stronger collaboration of all transport researchers in the future and reminded us that, despite the important efforts which must be produced in order to establish and maintain it over time, international collaborations are a very rewarding and enriching experience and represents undoubtedly the future of the transport sector.

The workshop finished with an analysis of the results for all modes from all the discussions and presentations. A general discussion ensued and a number of actions were identified to be disseminated to policy makers and national governments on the research community’s recommendations for realising a true collaborative environment for the international transport research community in the future.
Amongst the main conclusions of the workshop, the participants especially pointed out the need for political authorities and the different transport industries, to encourage a multimodal approach of transport in order to better answer the mobility needs of our societies. In order to reach such an ambition, the participants underlined the absolute need to move from a “mode approach” to a “theme” approach, with the identification of common problems. Finally, Dr. George Kotsikos, HERMES Coordinator, addressed a special message to all participants regarding their responsibilities in supporting young researchers to pursue their efforts in accomplishing the aim of strengthening international collaboration in transport research.
All the information; presentations and results from the workshop will be available on the HERMES website


1. HERMES is the Establishing a CompreHEnsive transport Research information Management and Exchange System” project. It is funded under the European Commission (EC) FP7 Programme. The project started in November 2011 and will run until February 2014.

2. The HERMES project has 5 partners. Newcastle University (UK), Foundation WEGEMT - A European Association of Universities in Marine Technology and related Sciences (Netherlands); EASN Technology Innovation Services BVBA (Belgium); Euromobilita s.r.o. (Czech Republic); Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer – UIC (France).


For further information contact:

Coordinator, Dr George Kotsikos, NewRail-Newcastle University

Workshop Coordinator, Mr Francois Maugere, UIC,