Good news and exciting times at BCRRE

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Alex Burrows
Alex Burrows

Alex Burrows Director of BCRRE provides us with a piece on some good news.

2020 has provided some cheer for us all at BCRRE.  We found out two days ago (Wednesday 25 November) that we had won the Guardian University Award 2020 for Business Collaboration for our work with Porterbrook on the HydroFLEX project, the UK’s first hydrogen train.  This is a significant achievement for us at BCRRE.

Guardian Award Image
Guardian Award Image

This project is a great example of the growing collaboration between the rail industry and academia that has driven the establishment and growth of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).  BCRRE is the lead partner hosting the UKRRIN Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems which incorporates the UKRRIN Introducing Innovation theme.

The HydroFLEX project has been a wonderful example that exemplifies our work on the UKRRIN Introducing Innovation theme.  With our industrial partner, Porterbrook, we have established a single project team with a clear focus on the single clear outcome – taking the technology, developing it and bringing it to mainline railway operation, supporting our industrial partner to prepare their commercial offering for market.  I am hugely proud of the whole team across all of the partners that have been involved over the last 2 years – congratulations to everyone who has played a role and thank you!

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps

This news came on the back of our other piece of hugely exciting recent news.  Our new BCRRE home is ready and we have moved in!

The new BCRRE / UKRRIN building is now open and operational and we are settling in very nicely thank you.  The main School of Engineering – attached to our building – is in the final stages of completion and we are very much looking forward to working alongside our colleagues from across the whole School from early 2021.  The building is very close to University station and provides significantly more space and much improved facilities for our research, education and innovation activities.  It is a facility designed for collaboration with industry and I know that with this superb new space we will be able to achieve even more.

This month we have launched our Quest Campaign (yes, that’s right we’re on the search for something) and this truly  cements the importance of rail decarbonisation and innovation, the push for decarbonisation has never been stronger globally, as governments, companies and civil society grapple with the climate crisis. Academic work conducted here at BCRRE at the University of Birmingham, in partnership with the transport industry, can help navigate the complex transition involved in phasing out harmful fuels and smoothly integrating next-generation power sources. Read more on this here.

Read more about HydroFLEX and opportunities with UKRRIN along with our focus for the Railway QUEST Campaign  and get in touch with us to find out more about our new building and how you can work with us here, visit and hold your meetings or events, at bcrre@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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