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researchers sign MOU with RazorSecure
l-r: Professor Clive Roberts, BCRRE Director; Dr Emma Taylor, Head of Digital Safety at RazorSecure; and Dr Richard Thomas, Industrial Fellow (Data Integration and Cybersecurity), BCRRE.

The signing took place at the 13th World Congress on Railway Research, hosted by RSSB and the University of Birmingham this week.

The MOU establishes strategic research and thought leadership partnership between BCRRE and RazorSecure to address specific cyber security challenges including threat detection for railway systems, monitoring railway signalling systems used in the UK and EU railways, establishing a common body of knowledge for education in rail cyber security and integrating cyber security within safety and regulatory requirements.

The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network’s Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems, led and housed at BCRRE, offers world-leading expertise in railway control and operations simulation, condition monitoring and sensing, and data integration and cyber security.

BCRRE’s dedicated rail cyber security laboratories develop and test solutions for ‘real world’ operational systems and identify new explanations through theoretical background evidence and transfer the data into implementable solutions.

This partnership with RazorSecure puts us at the forefront of rail cyber security R&D, working closely with the rail supply chain and train operators to identify and develop new solutions that address key questions

Dr Richard Thomas, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education

Founded in 2015 by CEO Alex Cowan, with headquarters in Basingstoke, RazorSecure provides tailored cyber-security solutions for the rail industry, covering both onboard and trackside applications. RazorSecure’s customers include train manufacturers such as Siemens, and rail operators such as Northern Trains, West Midland Railway and Capital Corridor.

Alex Cowan, CEO of RazorSecure said: “It is critical that we continue to elevate cybersecurity within rail, by working openly and collaboratively. Cybersecurity shouldn't be addressed in silos. By partnering with BCRRE, we are able to expand and enhance our solution portfolio, by developing new innovative technology designed specifically to meet the unique challenges faced by the rail industry.”

Dr Richard James Thomas, Industrial Fellow in Data Integration and Cyber Security and Rail Cyber Security Technical Lead at BCRRE says; “Our railways around the world are digitalising at pace, and cyber security is a critical aspect that train operators, infrastructure managers and the supply chain now have to manage today and into the future. This partnership with RazorSecure puts us at the forefront of rail cyber security R&D, working closely with the rail supply chain and train operators to identify and develop new solutions that address key questions, in addition to providing the necessary information, skills and content required to cultivate the necessary maturity and cyber security knowledge for the sector.”

Professor Clive Roberts, Head of School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham says: “We are proud to establish this R&D partnership, working with a rapidly growing and leading SME in rail cyber security. Starting with a joint project our relationship has grown stronger and this partnership will allow us to engage and provide industry leadership. Our joint expertise, in-depth knowledge, and unique skills, will enable us to assess threats to railway systems, develop a common body of knowledge for rail cyber security and further advance the relationship between safety and cyber security.“

  • For media enquiries please contact Beck Lockwood, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel: +44 (0)781 3343348
  • RazorSecure was founded in 2015 by CEO Alex Cowan, with headquarters in Basingstoke, RazorSecure provides leading companies across the rail industry with tailored cyber security solutions. As specialists in rail, RazorSecure technology is powered by machine learning and designed to protect rolling stock, signalling and infrastructure systems. RazorSecure solutions have been deployed in over 1600 rail vehicles and protected over 50 million rail passenger journeys.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • BCRRE is Europe’s largest academic-based group delivering railway science and education. With over 160 academics, researchers and professional support staff, BCRRE provides world-class research and thought leadership within railways, and offers an expanding portfolio of high-quality education programmes, including Rail and Rail Systems Level 6 and 7 degree apprenticeships. In 2018 BCRRE became lead partner in the £92m UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) and in 2019, it absorbed the activities of the Rail Alliance into its offering, increasing its breadth of support for innovation and growth in the rail industry. Contact: BCRRE at
  • The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) is designed to create powerful collaboration between academia and industry, aiming to provide a step-change in innovation in the sector and accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally. The initiative was launched in 2018 and has four Centres of Excellence, covering Digital Systems, Rolling Stock, Infrastructure and Testing, formed by a consortium of universities, in collaboration with existing industry testing and trialling facilities such as Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centres. Centres were created in Digital Systems (led by University of Birmingham), Rolling Stock (led by University of Huddersfield, in partnership with Newcastle University and Loughborough University) and Infrastructure (led by University of Southampton, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University and Heriot-Watt University). Some £92m of total funding was committed to the centres by the UK Government and leading industrial partners.