Over 100 UK and international alumni and rail professionals from academia and industry convened at the London Transport Museum last week (Tuesday 19 May) to hear Professor Clive Roberts discuss the future of our railways. 

The event marked the fourth Birmingham Heroes Lecture, an annual series which celebrates academics’ pioneering research, dedicated to enquiry, debate and change. Many of our heroes are global leaders in their chosen field and continue to transform and impact upon health, environment and society.

Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), discussed research being carried out at the University in the area of improved railway control, timetabling, predictive maintenance technologies and energy efficiency.

Birmingham research led by Professor Roberts' aims to develop innovative solutions for the railway industry and new technologies that improve the overall efficiency of railway systems. His research specialisms combine simulation, measurement and analysis of problems in order to develop and assess new approaches and technology.

 The event was hosted by Professor Richard Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham and concluded with a panel discussion.


The following industry experts took part in the discussion on the future of our railways and the major challenges to address:

• David Clarke, Innovation Director, Rail Safety and Standards Board
• Kuldeep Gharatya, Head of Technical Strategy, Systems Performance & Innovation, London Underground
• Francis How, Technical Director, Railway Industry Association
• Jane Simpson, Chief Engineer, Network Rail

Professor Clive Roberts said, 'I was delighted to take part in this important event and to share with Birmingham alumni and friends the importance of new digital innovations in railway research. Railways around the world are having a renaissance. Research being carried out at the University of Birmingham is underpinning the roll-out of innovative solutions, which will improve railway systems, as well as developing a potentially strong export market, helping Britain to become a true world leader in digital railway technology'.


London Transport Museum in Covent Garden explores the story of London and its transport system over the last 200 years, highlighting the powerful link between transport and the growth of modern London, culture and society since 1800. The museum cares for over 450,000 items - preserving, researching and acquiring objects to use in their galleries, exhibitions and other activities.

The Birmingham Heroes lecture series at the University of Birmingham is an opportunity to showcase the pioneering research of our global leaders in their chosen field. Integral to our research impact are the ‘Heroes’; the academics who are part of a large teaching and research community dedicated to enquiry, debate and change, and continue to transform and impact upon health, environment and society.

• £10 from each ticket sale was donated to the University's Collaborative Teaching Laboratory project, to help with the new state-of-the-art facility, which will bring together practical teaching activities across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines.