The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has launched its 2022 Unlocking Innovation programme which features a range of events and activities to be held throughout the year.
The RIA is the voice of the UK rail supply community. Unlocking Innovation is its leading initiative to bring together clients and innovators in rail and promote the work they do. It is organised in partnership with Network Rail’s R&D Portfolio and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN).
Unlocking Innovation events bring together the people with ideas and ambition to drive change within the rail industry. The programme has been running for more than a decade This year it will focus on the theme of ‘Getting Ready for Great British Railways’, looking at how the railway sector can prepare for the coming restructuring of the railway industry.
This year’s programme includes:
- InnovateUK’s Rail Innovation Exhibition on 22 March, where RIA host Rail TV sessions;
- An Innovation Conference on 26-27 April, which is RIA’s flagship innovation event;
- Railtex / Infrarail on 10 – 12 May, where RIA will host the Unlocking Innovation Hub;
- A World Congress on Railway Research on 6 – 10 June, where RIA will host the Unlocking Innovation Networking Zone;
- A Parliamentary Innovation Exhibition in July, where RIA members will be able to exhibit to Parliamentarians and stakeholders;
- Modern Railways’ Railway Innovation Awards on 1 July, held in partnership with RIA;
- An Unlocking Innovation Passenger Experience event in Summer;
- Innotrans on 20 – 23 September, where RIA will be organising Unlocking Innovation Elevator Pitches with InnovateUK and KTN;
- An Unlocking Innovation Digital for Rail event in November.
David Clarke, Technical Director at the RIA, said: “I am very excited to present the 2022 programme for Unlocking Innovation, which is jam-packed full of exciting events and activities to support innovation across the rail industry.
“For more than a decade, Unlocking Innovation has been bringing clients and innovators together and promoting rail’s role as a state-of-the-art, innovative sector that is delivering new products and services to benefit those who use the railways.
“Following the Coronavirus pandemic, and as the industry embarks on a major reforms, it is vital the sector is able to continue adapting and improving through innovation. So, our theme this year is ‘Getting Ready for Great British Railways’, focusing on how we ensure we grasp the opportunities and overcome the challenges posed by moving to GBR.
“I’d like to thank our strategic partners, Network Rail and UKRRIN, as well as all those we are working with in 2022, to deliver our Unlocking Innovation programme.”
David Rowe, Head of Strategy at Network Rail, said: “We’re delighted to be working with RIA’s Unlocking Innovation programme for 2022.
“Last year, we saw the number of professionals in rail saying they see the sector as ‘extremely, very or quite innovative’ increase by 12% from 2019 levels, showing that perceptions of our railway industry as innovative are getting better. But there is still so much more to do to promote new thinking and ways of working, including through support for Network Rail’s R&D Portfolio and the wide range of projects contained in it.
“We look forward to working with RIA on their strong programme of activities and events in 2022!”
Jo Binstead, Chair of UKRRIN, said: “Innovation is critical to any sector, which is why UKRRIN is working to bring academia together with industry to ensure new ideas can be turned into innovative products and services that have a real impact on rail customers.
“It is a really exciting time for UKRRIN – last year saw the launch of our new Technology and Innovation Hub with Unipart Rail and the opening of the new rail research building at the University of Birmingham. We’re looking forward to another great year working with RIA and partners to promote innovation in rail.”