UKCRIC National Linear Infrastructure Laboratory - University of Southampton

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment

Abstract

There is an urgent need, and a transformative opportunity, to develop and exploit major advances in scientific understanding (including in the social and environmental sciences), multidisciplinary systems thinking, technological innovation and engineering, and manufacturing methods to adapt and augment the national economic infrastructure in a way that safeguards and enhances its multiple benefits with regard to economic growth, extreme event resilience, social wellbeing, environmental sustainability and export potential. A further research challenge is to understand how all aspects of infrastructure symbiotically serve the evolving needs and ambitions of nations and cities within the UK and elsewhere.

Intervention by way of targeted investment in capital equipment in key universities will enable world-leading research that creates and provides evidence for new paradigms in infrastructure over the next 50 years, reducing the cost of ownership of current and future infrastructure assets. As a result, significant direct & indirect societal and economic benefits will accrue to UK cities and to the country at large, and international commercial opportunities will be created for UK companies.

UKCRIC will address the above shortcomings in a focussed and evidenced-based way, leveraging existing investments in facilities and people to best effect. It will scale up existing research programmes to address near term issues such as investment in rail systems, roads, and flood and water management; and employ smart sensors and systems to generate open and big data for optimising the use of assets and investments. In the longer term, UKCRIC will develop new materials, new techniques and novel technologies. At the highest level, it will understand how to make the system of systems that constitutes the nation's infrastructure more resilient to extreme events and more adaptable to changing circumstances and contexts, and how it can provide services that are more affordable, accessible and useable to the whole population.

UKCRIC will:
i. Build on existing capabilities to establish a network of state-of-the-art large-scale experimental facilities supporting world-leading research in cities and infrastructure;
ii. Establish a unique, national network of local 'urban laboratories' to sense, capture, monitor & evaluate new and existing infrastructure in UK towns and cities;
iii. Establish world-leading computation and big data infrastructure for the modelling, simulation, and visualisation of cities and infrastructure;
iv. Coordinate UK research in cities and infrastructure nationally, promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing between disciplines and across sectors;
v. Amplify and grow existing activity to provide a focus for industrial engagement, knowledge sharing and technology transfer in cities and infrastructure research;
vi. Provide a focus for policy engagement at local, regional and national levels;
vii. Act as a focal point for cities and infrastructure research worldwide, maintaining and extending the UK's knowledge and innovation leadership in the design, planning, delivery, management, and operation of cities and infrastructure.

As a result of these activities, UKCRIC will:
1 Generate new knowledge, technologies and digital solutions that reduce the risk of, and add value to, the very large investments in infrastructure that will have to be made over the next 50 years;
2 Develop innovative solutions, including digital solutions, to infrastructure problems that reduce the cost of ownership of infrastructure and enhance the value of derived services;
3 Radically improve the resilience of infrastructure systems and services against extreme events;
4 Grow and maintain the capacity and capability of infrastructure professionals so as to enhance domestic and global commercial market opportunities.

National [Linear] Infrastructure Laboratory at University of Southampton is part of UKCRIC.

Planned Impact

To ensure that the £466B remaining in the National Infrastructure Pipeline is invested wisely, the UKCRIC case has been successfully made for a targeted and coordinated uplift in research capability supported by national investment in world-class national infrastructure research capability. The UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) will provide leadership and support for the development and growth of a coordinated and coherent, world class, UK-based national infrastructure research community, spanning at least 13 universities in the first instance. It will engage government, city and commercial policy makers, investors, citizens and academia in a joint venture that drives innovation and value creation in the exploitation of services provided by national infrastructure. Through central coordination, providing a focal point for knowledge transfer, UKCRIC will support a step-change in the nation's approach to infrastructure investment. It will also develop a commercial resource that has considerable export potential for an international market that is valued at least $57 trillion in the period up to 2030.

Through collaborative postdoctoral training (Masters, PhD, EngD), research projects, and CPD courses, UKCRIC will train the next generation of research, knowledge and innovation leaders, in cities and infrastructure, across the academic, industry and policy sectors. For example, it is expected that more than 2,000 students and postdoctoral researchers will be trained on UKCRIC's facilities within the first 5 years.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The £48M National (Linear) Infrastructure Laboratory (NIL) has been opened and is occupied by approx. 100 researchers and students. The four main laboratories - Large Structures Testing lab, Testing and Structures Research lab, Geomechanics lab and Geotechnical Centrifuge - are being used for research and teaching, including undergrad and postgrad projects, while they continue to commission equipment. To maintain the NIL's world leading position specialist items continue to be procured with funding from other grants and from the University's own resources. A cost and staffing model has been implemented to allow other institutions and third parties to use the facilities or undertake collaborative research, and the laboratory is described on the UKCRIC website.
Exploitation Route The NIL underpins several current grants, contracts and proposals in development, including multi-institutional projects and programmes, and collaborative partnerships with industry. Payment for use of the facilities is governed by a TRAC model to ensure the sustainability of the NIL in the long term.

The laboratory has a target, in common with other UKCRIC facilities, for 25% use by others. The UKCRIC co-ordination node actively promotes the use of the facility by other institutions and third parties. The PI and one Co-I for this grant are respectively UKCRIC's Director of Research Strategy and Convenor, and are members of faculty at the University of Southampton.

Diamond Light Source (DLS) and the University of Southampton (UoS) have a collaboration agreement in place since 11 September 2020 and currently scheduled to end on 31 March 2021. The agreement has enabled Dr Fernando Alvarez Borges to work partly at UoS on some short-term projects. This work has contributed to two panel-reviewed beamtime sessions (No. 1920746 at ISIS-MAT, No. MG26232-2 at DLS). A further outcome of this collaboration is a consultation document, identifying possible projects that could be taken forward as part of an extended collaboration agreement.
Sectors Construction,Education,Energy,Environment,Transport

URL https://www.ukcric.com/facilities/national-infrastructure-laboratory/
 
Description UKCRIC has developed its mission to underpin the renewal, sustainment and improvement of infrastructure and cities in the UK and elsewhere. It has articulated this in four mission statements: "Infrastructure and urban systems for one planet living" - Empowering society to thrive within the capacity of the planet through responsible consumption, resource efficiency and sustainable growth. "Ownership, governance and business models for infrastructure and urban systems" - Coping with greater system interdependencies, changing patterns of use and new, disruptive technologies whilst at the same time delivering social justice and affordability. "Transformational infrastructure and urban systems for a changing world" - Enabling infrastructure and urban systems to adapt to the challenges of climate change, changing patterns of use, societal expectations and emergent technologies. "Infrastructure and urban systems as drivers of equity, inclusion and social justice" - Forging healthy, happy and productive lives for all through urban design, planning, policy and infrastructure. These statements have been developed and agreed with our industry board and international panel. Examples of emerging economic and societal impact include the following. Members of UKCRIC have joined the Thames Tideway Tunnel Advisory Group to develop mitigation measures to address/limit construction impacts on residents, businesses and transport networks. Workshops and meetings have been initiated to develop plans for the East West Arc (Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge economic and housing development) and with East West Rail company to provide sustainable transport solutions for it. Members of UKCRIC are engaged at a high level with HS2, described more fully under influence on policy and practice. We have run a workshop for and engage with the Fawley Waterside Project, a proposal to develop a sustainable community of some 4,000 people and 2,000 jobs on the edge of the New Forest, where UKCRIC's missions "infrastructure and urban systems for one planet living" and "transformational infrastructure and urban systems for a changing world" are of particular relevance. A UKCRIC Co-ordination Node award enables stakeholder engagement with Core Cities; Key Cities through workshops; I3P; numerous all hands meetings across the UKCRIC partners and formation of the International Advisory Board. The NIL's large testing and geotechnics laboratories will be used to support UKRRIN (rail research) activities and to underpin a new 5-year R&D framework contract with Network Rail.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Construction,Education,Energy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Advancing practice in managing groundwater in civil engineering
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Prof Powrie delivered a series of workshops to practising engineers in London (January 2019) and Canada (December 2019) on innovative techniques and design for managing groundwater in temporary and permanent civil engineering works.
 
Description Appointed to advise Chair of HS2
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Prof William Powrie was selected with Prof Andrew McNaughton (Southampton) and Prof Lord Robert Mair (Cambridge) to advise the Chairman of HS2 on the engineering design of HS2 infrastructure. Their work was cited in Recommendation 3 of the HS2 Chairman's Stocktake (August 2019) (HMG Official Sensitive - redacted version available at the given URL). In the context of challenging costs and deriving further efficiencies within the proposed scope of the railway, the Chairman says "I will continue to use Professor Andrew McNaughton, Lord Mair and Professor William Powrie to work with the HS2 Ltd Chief Engineer to examine the engineering assumptions behind existing designs". The Chairman's Stocktake was heavily cited and its cost estimates relied on in the Oakervee Review (December 2019), including a specific reference to risk arising from lack of information on ground conditions in Phase 2b. The Oakervee Review in turn underpinned the Prime Minister's announcement on 11 Feb 2020, so a direct line can be drawn from our research to the decision to proceed with HS2.
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-ltd-chairmans-stocktake-august-2019
 
Description HS2 earthworks review panels
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Separately from his role advising the Chairman of HS2, Prof Powrie provided expert advice to HS2 technical leads and their consultants, and chaired or participated in a series of panels, design reviews and deep dive exercises to improve the design of HS2 geotechnical infrastructure, from January to August 2019 with occasional further inputs. He also gave independent advice to DfT on HS2, particularly at meetings on 15th (Southampton) and 27th March 2019 (London). This has led to more economical design of large cost elements of HS2, contributing to the decision to proceed with the project. Evidence for this is set out in the separate entry on advising the Chair of HS2, who reported in the HMG publication "HS2 Chairman's Stocktake" that he would "continue to use Professor Andrew McNaughton, Lord Mair and Professor William Powrie to work with the HS2 Ltd Chief Engineer to examine the engineering assumptions behind existing designs The value engineering on Main Works Civils Contractors to date has been far reaching .."
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-ltd-chairmans-stocktake-august-2019
 
Description Coordination Node for UKCRIC
Amount £1,165,613 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R017727/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description EPSRC-SFI: ROBOCONE: intelligent robotics for next generation ground investigation and design
Amount £1,203,430 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/W006235/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 12/2024
 
Description ESilient Infrastructure using STainless steel (RESIST)
Amount £416,254 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/W020351/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2022 
End 02/2025
 
Description STRUCTURES 2025: A HIGH FIDELITY, DATA RICH, PARADIGM FOR STRUCTURAL TESTING
Amount £1,143,860 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R008787/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Description Standard research
Amount £1,143,860 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R008787/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Description UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF)
Amount £28,086,000 (GBP)
Organisation Higher Education Funding Council for England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2020
 
Description An investigation on settlement of Swiss Railway ballast 
Organisation Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Tests were undertaken on Swiss ballast using the Southampton Railway Testing Facility (SRTF), a laboratory representation of a single sleeper bay of track which has been developed and used to investigate the influence of different sleeper and ballast arrangements on their long-term performance, within the National Infrastructure Laboratory (NIL).
Collaborator Contribution Provision of materials and funding.
Impact 2 million loading cycles were imposed at 4 Hz, and deflections measured and analysed to determine plastic settlement and spring stiffness of the ballast.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Diamond Light Source/UKCRIC NIL (University of Southampton) 
Organisation Diamond Light Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Providing VDCSS testing facilities. Gas hydrate characterisation (RC tests) Geotechnical laboratory access to Dr Fernando Borges
Collaborator Contribution Sample preparations fro in-situ tomography experiment in I12. Beamtime was successful ~90 scans in total. Scan with X-rays of minipile sample scanned with neutrons at IMAT. Working on I13-2 gas hydrate data for publication - substantial progress made, particularly in the use of machine learning for segmentation.
Impact Sample preparations fro in-situ tomography experiment in I12. Beamtime was successful ~90 scans in total. Scan with X-rays of minipile sample scanned with neutrons at IMAT. Working on I13-2 gas hydrate data for publication - substantial progress made, particularly in the use of machine learning for segmentation
Start Year 2020
 
Description East West Arc Rail Alliance 
Organisation East West Railway Company
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Expertise on railway track systems, geotechnical engineering and transportation policy. Infrastructure and urban systems for one planet living. Infrastructure and urban systems as drivers of equity, inclusion and social justice. Engagement with innovation workshops and meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Developing and delivering a real world transportation system as part of the holistic development of a significant new intimately connected group of urban economic systems, where research will deliver direct social and economic impact. Political influence and community relations.
Impact Profs Richards and Powrie attended an innovation discussion at offices of EWR Co 4 April 2019, and Prof Richards led an Innovation Workshop in Edgbaston 1 August 2019. Prof Powrie and Prof Richards provided expert advice to an Earthworks Technical Review of EWR Co designs on 3 June 2019.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Network Rail CP6 R&D framework 
Organisation Network Rail Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Solution exploration, project scoping and design. Physics based analysis of infrastructure performance. Numerical modelling, laboratory testing, field measurements and performance monitoring of all rail infrastructure including track systems, geotechnical infrastructure, structures, vegetation management, design philosophy and conceptual design, noise and vibration, high voltage infrastructure, location data and track model, economic and carbon modelling, and other areas of mutual interest and expertise that may arise. I contributed to a major report (delivered in March 2021) by Professor Lord Robert Mair into the causes of the fatal landslip outside Stonehaven in August 2020 and its implications for the network.
Collaborator Contribution Funding and access to H2020 funding. Programme management. Access to significant data sets and live railway track including safety management systems. Chair industry steering group for all rail research. Access, data and £853k of funding was committed by Network Rail in 2020 for research into predicting failures and degradation of railway assets; understanding the development of scour at river and estuarial crossings; cost efficient electrification; soil moisture deficit track geometry impacts; noise and vibration analysis, solutions, mitigation and prevention; use of asphaltic materials in the trackbed; and rail stress management.
Impact The Partnership has attracted £853k of committed funding in year 1 of 5. The main discipline is geotechnical engineering but of £853k, £147k has been for high voltage lab testing, £50k for fluid dynamics and £97k for noise and vibration.
Start Year 2019
 
Description SWC Phase 2 testing 
Organisation Laing O'Rourke
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Resonant column testing and triaxial testing of cementitious fill material
Collaborator Contribution Funding PI, Research Fellow and facility costs, and upgrade of apparatus
Impact Private report on material characteristics.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Strength behaviour of Carmont aggregate materials using large triaxial apparatus 
Organisation ORR Office of Rail Regulation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Triaxial testing of fill material supplied by ORR in 300mm diameter apparatus at the National Infrastructure Laboratory, Southampton.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of material and funding for test
Impact Results of a series of large triaxial tests carried out to determine the strength behaviour of two types of aggregate material (described in Section 2) at effective confining stresses of 20 and 50 kPa, of relevance to a forensic investigation into the fatal derailment of a train at Carmont in August 2020. In particular, the effect of fines on strength behaviour and the effect of confining stress or burial depth on aggregate strength were reported.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Centre of Excellence in Infrastructure video launched at Railway Industry Association Innovation Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Created a video of railway infrastructure research activities and postgrad training based at the NIL in Southampton, with an endorsement by Network Rail. The video was launched at the RIA (virtual) Innovation Conference 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUON5Wxrss0
 
Description Engagement with HS2 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A series of meetings to develop a framework for HS2 to engage with leading UK universities, to underpin and drive innovation. A contract was made in March 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Heavy Axle Weight cross-industry working group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presenting the results of a study to scope and propose a detailed methodology for the development, population and validation of a model to understand and quantify the incremental effects of heavy axle weights (HAW) on Network Rail infrastructure. The study is expected to lead to substantive research in 2022-23.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description ICE BGA Conf Invited Speaker 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Annual BGA Conference - first ICE face to face activity since the pandemic. Presented the aspects of the geotechnical design failings that led to the OLE foundation design and construction debacle associated with GWEP and subsequent halting of the National Electrification Programme - a critical key rail decarbonising opportunity. Presented published field data planned and executed from the UKCRIC NIL
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.britishgeotech.org/events/290-bga-annual-conference-2021
 
Description ICE Strategy Session: Future of the Profession 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Outcome of the Engineering Rebellion - future of the civil engineering profession
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.ice.org.uk/news-and-insight/latest-ice-news/ice-launches-engineering-rebellion-future-ci...
 
Description Leading member of UKRRIN 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact We are a founding member of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network. We attend some 30 meetings a year and lead the Centre of Excellence in Infrastructure, as well as jointly leading activity in Network Growth. UKRRIN has raised the profile of railway research in BEIS and the DfT, and more generally in the UK rail industry, forging new links with industrial partners of all sizes and enabling SMEs to access major facilities for produce innovation and development. We have an active secretariat and significant new and enhanced facilities, driven by a £28M UKRPIF award and some £64M of industry support in cash and kind over ten years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020,2021
URL https://www.ukrrin.org.uk/
 
Description Leading member of UKRRIN 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact We are a founding member of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network. We attend some 30 meetings a year and lead the Centre of Excellence in Infrastructure, as well as jointly leading activity in Network Growth. UKRRIN has raised the profile of railway research in BEIS and the DfT, and more generally in the UK rail industry, forging new links with industrial partners of all sizes and enabling SMEs to access major facilities for produce innovation and development. We have an active secretariat and significant new and enhanced facilities, driven by a £28M UKRPIF award and some £64M of industry support in cash and kind over ten years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020,2021
URL https://www.ukrrin.org.uk/
 
Description MAFEX Spanish railways visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Fact finding visit by Spanish railway industry delegates to find how the UK industry and academia engage. They were given presentations on engineering research and education at Southampton, and on the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network, and a tour of facilities.
In 2021 the event was repeated on-line over two days in March. Follow-up discussions are continuing, to develop possible collaborative research or consultancy to develop products.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2021
 
Description Media engagement after a fatal landslip at Carmont on the rail network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On August 12th 2020 a train derailed at Carmont, Aberdeenshire, after significant rainfall washed out material onto the track. Two magazine articles by BBC transport correspondent Paul Clifton made reference to research at the University of Southampton and extensively quoted Professor William Powrie and Associate Professor Joel Smethurst. A six-page article appears in Rail Review (Q3-2020), an influential publication read by industry leaders in the UK and more widely. Prof Powrie was quoted in a second article in the more popular fortnightly magazine RAIL (913; 9-22 Sept 2020). Both referred also to work by a recent PhD student at the University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.railreview.com/
 
Description Network Rail Track Technical Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation by William Powrie and Andrew McNaughton to Network Rail's Track Technical Board on the future direction of railway research, on previous collaborations, current research, a proposed EPSRC programme "the Totally Reliable, Affordable, zero-Carbon, 24-hour railway" (TRAC24) and Network Rail's current research and development programme.
The purpose was to secure support for the EPSRC proposed programme and raise awareness of capabilities at Southampton and the University's role in Network Rail's programme. In this we were successful and, although the EPSRC proposal was not funded, research continues to be commissioned from Southampton by Network Rail.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Network Rail graduates development activity 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A small group of Network Rail staff on their Graduate scheme visited the National Infrastructure Laboratory for meetings on our latest findings and techniques, as part of their CPD.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Opening of new UKCRIC laboratory by Chief Executive, Network Rail 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Over 160 people attended the September 2019 opening of the new £48M UKCRIC National Infrastructure Laboratory by Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, with guests of honour William Wilson, Chief Executive of Siemens Mobility, and Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President - Shipping, Shell Shipping and Maritime. The event was attended by senior industry, consultancy, trade organisation, government and academic partners from Associated British Ports, BAE Systems, British Steel, HS1, HS2, Lloyd's Register, National Grid, Network Rail, RSSB, Shell, Thales; Arup, Jacobs; DfT, EPSRC, Solent LEP; a number of SMEs; and several UK and one European universities - Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Delft, Heriot-Watt, Huddersfield, ICL, Leeds and Loughborough. At the event Network Rail announced a £2M R&D framework contract with UoS, and Shell signed a £1.5M donation to the University. The BBC attended, resulting in a 4-minute report shown twice on local television news and since used by us for other engagement activities. The event was also the subject of a press release by Network Rail and reported in a number of trade journals such as Ship Technology, Steel Guru and Premier Construction News. The then Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented, "A key part of improving our railways is ensuring the latest, cutting-edge technology is being developed and used across the network, cutting delays and strengthening resilience. Investing in innovation in the present will only improve the lives of passengers in the future."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2019/09/national-infrastructure-laboratory.page
 
Description Opening of railway technical innovation hub, Doncaste 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Opening of a facility in Doncaster with funding from Universities of Southampton, Huddersfield and Birmingham, Network Rail, Unipart Rail and Sheffield City Region LEP to engage with railway SMEs to develop research and innovation through the TRLs to commercial implementation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Permanent Way Institution presentations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 2018: Local branch meeting of the Permanent Way Institute, to increase their understanding of and engagement with research in the railway industry. Title was Railway track and related infrastructure research at the University of Southampton. Enhanced the reputation of the University, gave the practitioners insights into the science underlying several of their practices, and helped them identify problem areas. Distributed copies of the Guide to Track Stiffness, authored by the University in a cross-industry working group.
2020: Virtual presentation to PWI on research and developments in understanding track infrastructure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2020
 
Description Pre-COP26 event - Is it too late to save our oceans? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An on-line event discussing how the University of Southampton's latest research in marine science and engineering is tackling the fight against climate change and how we achieve Net Zero by 2050. Disseminated by the University of Southampton and via YouTube.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flUd587Vfew
 
Description Railway Industry Association Innovation Conference 2021: UK Innovation Capability Panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Panel member for a plenary session at a virtual 2-day railway industry conference, believed to have been attended by around 300 delegates. The topic was UK Innovation Capability.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Regular engagement with Network Rail 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Quarterly meeting with the Group Safety & Engineering Director, Technical Authority, Network Rail and his senior technical team. Since March 2020 we have met (virtually) quarterly to address any and all infrastructure applied research and development matters affecting Network Rail. Major topics have included cost reduction, electrification, impacts of climate change, condition monitoring, and the performance and stability of historic earthworks (especially in the light of a fatal landslip in August 2020). Network Rail has agreed to fund four new PhD studentships (recruited in 2020 and commenced in Feb 2021) and support four more (to start in 2021).
Between the meetings there have been and continue to be other high level interactions, when topics have included the railway industry's response to Covid-19, reduction of embedded carbon and developing future proposals to EPSRC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description SNCF seminar on instrumentation of railway track 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Southampton research staff gave a tour of facilities and a seminar on railway track instrumentation to a delegation from SNCF Reseau. SNCF responded with a presentation on instrumentation currently used in France. The visit resulted in a new relationship and firm plans for Southampton researchers to instrument a section of track in France. SNCF committed £100k value to support this work and provided a Letter of Support for a new programme grant proposal.
The visit to France was delayed due to Covid travel restrictions and is now planned to take place in 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Thales - Southampton Partnership 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented an overview of Southampton rail research and wider UK initiatives to senior staff at Thales Group in Paris
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Track Stiffness Working Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Regular meetings of a cross-industry working group chaired by Network Rail and including universities, consulting engineers, industry partners and infrastructure owners/operators to improve the performance of ballasted railway track systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021,2022
URL http://t2f.org.uk/wp-content/blogs.dir/sites/5/2016/10/A-Guide-to-Track-Stiffness_final-reviewR13_on...
 
Description UK Rail Research and Innovation Network video launched at Railway Industry Innovation Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Participate in a video of leading UK university railway research capabilities, with an endorsement by Network Rail. The video was launched at the RIA (virtual) Innovation Conference 2021.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_cz2ka-rwg
 
Description UKCRIC DAFNI Roadshow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation on UKCRIC, the National Infrastructure Laboratory and DAFNI. DAFNI facilities and activities at the University of Southampton were highlighted to researchers and industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://dafni.ac.uk/roadshow-southampton/
 
Description UKCRIC Facilities Network Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A series of events enabling networking and collaboration between UKCRIC facilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description University of Southampton Boldrewood Seminar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Weekly in person and hybrid events presenting projects from University of Southampton Maritime Engineering, Infrastructure, Water, Energy, Aero/Astro, and Materials research groups, and UK and International guest speakers to a wide audience of early career researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students, and external bodies. Presentations stimulated questions and discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021,2022
 
Description Vehicle/Track System Interface Committee (V/T SIC) Virtual Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation: Infrastructure Research and Development Capabilities at the University of Southampton and others
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Workshop on Next Generation Track System 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A workshop to consider the future direction of European research into the next generation of railway track systems. It involved setting the scene (technology and funding); brainstorming ideas; evaluation of ideas; and next steps. It led to the development of the next phase of EU-funded research through the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking. The University has now been commissioned to undertake a six month project to progress the output from the workshop and horizon scanning, and to develop / identify new concepts and / or features of existing concepts for the four traffic types.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020