The University of Birmingham has formed a new joint research institute with Anhui province in East China to support the development of railway infrastructure.


The Anhui-Birmingham International Research Institute in Rail Transportation (ABIRIRT) was unveiled in Hefei on this month by Professor Richard Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham and Mr Zhang Tianpei, Deputy Director-General of Anhui Development and Reform Commission.

The new institute provides a substantial physical base, located in Hefei, positioned alongside one of the China High Speed Train Authorities and further strengthens the esteemed portfolio of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), the largest academic railway group in Europe. Two initial research projects will focus on Hefei Metro Line 1, which is currently under construction. 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Williams at the University of Birmingham said: ‘This institute is a significant initiative in establishing new activities in railway research, education and consultancy. The vibrancy of China’s railway sector provides a basis for a growing partnership with Anhui Province. We expect to further extend our portfolio of activities in China in the future.’

Professor Clive Roberts, Director of ABIRIRT and Professor of Railway Systems at the University of Birmingham, commented: ‘The formation of the new Anhui-Birmingham International Research Institute in Railway Transportation (ABIRIRT) will allow us to put into practice the results of our research. The opportunity to work directly in China will offer us the opportunity to support and influence the development of railways in a country where there are now 10,000km of high speed line, and 25 cities that are building or extending their metro lines. As the Institute grows we aim to develop significant research capability in Anhui, so that it acts as a base for our railway research not only in China but throughout Southeast Asia.’

Deputy Director-General of Anhui Development and Reform Commission Mr Zhang Tianpei  added: ‘In Anhui Province alone there are 16 cities actively planning or building high-speed rail systems, the formation of ABIRIRT is perfectly timed to make key contributions to this development. We will provide our total support for the success and growth of ABIRIRT. I hope it will become a good example of the UK-China collaborations.’

•The University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) is known for its pioneering International MSc programme in Railway Systems Engineering with students from around the world. This year the Birmingham group has commenced a new Masters programme in Railway Risk and Safety with the Universities of York and Zhejiang, funded by Lloyds Register, and delivered in China. The new Institute in Anhui further develops the activities of the BCRRE in China.

•The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and almost 5,000 international students from nearly 150 countries. We have been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at Birmingham has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on people’s lives. We continue this tradition today as we develop, evolve and move towards a future as a leading global university.

•For media enquiries, please contact: Catherine Byerley, International Media Relations Manager, University of Birmingham, Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8254