Seven people wearing high-viz jackets and hard hats standing outside on a hilltop site

Senior representatives from the Global Centre of Rail Excellence and Swansea University at the site which is currently under construction in Onllwyn.

Swansea University and the Global Centre of Rail Excellence have agreed a major new research collaboration based at the centre’s home currently being constructed in South Wales.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence will be a site for world-class rail research, testing and showcasing of rolling stock, infrastructure and cutting-edge new technologies.

The memorandum of understanding signed between the two bodies will enable Swansea University and GCRE to collaborate on areas of common research interest.

The University is already a well-established name in rail innovation, being an affiliate of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) as well as having significant expertise in areas including railway signalling, infrastructure and civil engineering.

The 700-hectare GCRE site in Onllwyn also provides significant opportunities to support study in complementary research areas such as renewable energy, natural sciences and a wide-range of engineering disciplines. The partnership allows the site to be utilised by academics from across the University.

Separate to this memorandum of understanding, Swansea University will also be a partner in a new Centre of Excellence for Railway Testing, Validation and Customer Experience at GCRE, alongside the University of Birmingham and Cardiff University, following a £15 million award from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Professor David Smith said: “We are delighted to strengthen our existing relationship with GCRE and enter a more formalised partnership. Our collaboration will include skill development, student training and innovation in digital twinning, energy and net zero, materials and infrastructure, and environmental science while supporting regional and national rail technology and innovation.

GCRE is a unique facility within the UK and, indeed, Europe, and we are very fortunate to have it on our doorstep. We look forward to developing opportunities for impactful research and education through this new partnership.”

GCRE’s Rob Forde said: “Swansea has some sector-leading strengths in many key areas and GCRE will provide a platform at which their teams can undertake cutting edge research and development, as well providing a fantastic location for students to get skills and experience at a live railway environment.

“In many ways the partnership is a very natural one. Swansea has its home very close to the site and it’s important to us that we harness that strength and capability directly on our doorstep. The clients we will be working with will certainly value having a highly renowned university like Swansea linked to the facility.

“We’re incredibly excited about the partnership and in particular to support research collaborations outside of rail.”


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