Other Research Activities
There is considerable benefit to be gained from collaboration projects whereby access to a large project or specialist expertise can be gained for a relatively small financial contribution. This is not confined to an economic benefit but includes an effective means of knowledge transfer and the opportunity to tap into a high quality research and leading edge science and technology. Methods of collaboration might include:
- Participation in co-funded projects at universities and third level institutions
- Collaboration with National bodies which sponsor research activities in Ireland (SFI, IRCSET, etc)
- Involvement in European working groups and committees (FEHRL, CEDR, etc)
- Opportunities through EU funded research (7th Framework etc)
The Research Manager will, as part of his job description, develop a network of contacts at both national and international level to ensure that the Authority is kept aware of the opportunities provided by such collaboration projects
European Research Programmes
The NRA is a member of the Conference of European Road Directors (CEDR). An important CEDR subgroup monitors European research activities of interest to Roads Administrations, and seeks to disseminate research results and influence Research Programmes that support CEDR members in current and future situations.
ERA-NET Road is a significant joint research initiative involving ten CEDR members and the European Commission (Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development). On completion of ERA-NET Road in 2008, CEDR will be well positioned to provide a platform for future management of road research.
The Transport Research Arena (TRA) promoted by CEDR and the EU commission was held in Goteborg in June 2006 and a second TRA is planned for Ljubljana for April 2008. The National Roads Authority Ireland is actively involved in preparing for this conference.
The National Roads Authority is also involved, directly or through CEDR with other research bodies including:
- ERTRAC: European Road Transport Research Advisory Council
- ECTP: European Construction Technology Platform
- JTRC: ECMT/OECD’s Joint Transport Research Centre
- PIARC: World Road Association
- FEHRL: formerly Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories
- FERSI: Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes
- ECTRI: European Conference of Transport Research Institutes
The list of roads related research topics being undertaken across Europe is very extensive. The newly recruited Research Manager will become familiar with topics of specific interest in the Irish context and the initial research areas identified in the paragraph following will be fine tuned to take account of research output available elsewhere.
Other national and international organisations
Bridge Owners’ Forum
The membership of the Bridge Owners’ Forum (BOF) consists of organisations responsible for managing and maintaining the national bridge infrastructure. It was originally confined to the major bridge owners in the UK (Highways Agency, London Underground, Network Rail, British Waterways, National Assembly for Wales, Transport Scotland, Department of Regional Development for Northern Ireland, etc) but the NRA was invited to participate because of its common interest in bridge engineering problems and solutions. The BOF Forum meets three times a year to discuss and promote co-operation, collaboration and partnership amongst bridge owners. One of the purposes of the BOF is to identify research needs and commissions research projects relating to bridges. Membership provides the Authority with access to the conclusions of this research.
The Authority will also keep close contact with other national and international bodies that have an interest in promoting the technologies relating to road infrastructure. This includes Engineers Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET). the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) in the UK.