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The Secretary of State for Transport, Francois Davenne and Professor Clive Roberts at the launch event.
(l-r) Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport, Francois Davenne, Director General of the UIC, Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the BCRRE at the University of Birmingham.

The University of Birmingham (UOB) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) have officially launched the UIC Middle East Regional Competence Hub at the UOB Dubai campus.

The Hub has been created to facilitate the development of the Middle East’s rail and transport networks, with a focus on research and innovation to drive sustainable and smart growth for the future.

We are delighted to be partnering with the UIC and its members in the establishment of the Hub, and look forward to bringing together academic and industry regional expertise to help inform the next generation of sustainable development for rail in the Middle East.

Professor Clive Roberts, University of Birmingham

The opening of the Hub comes as Dubai hosts COP28 and highlights the need for cleaner and more sustainable rail transport across the region.

Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the BCRRE, said: “The BCRRE is Europe's largest centre for railway research, education, and innovation, and with UKRRIN and our range of industry partnerships we are in a prime position to actively support the new UIC Middle East Regional Competence Hub due to the University’s presence in Dubai. We are delighted to be partnering with the UIC and its members in the establishment of the Hub, and look forward to bringing together academic and industry regional expertise to help inform the next generation of sustainable development for rail in the Middle East.”

The UIC is establishing Regional Competence Hubs around the world to bridge the gap between academic and professional knowledge, and to get better results for innovation on behalf of Railway Operating Communities. Each hub focuses on regional needs to create know-how and provide innovative solutions.

The UK has always been a pioneer for transport innovation and this Hub will help further improve skills across rail by sharing expertise internationally. I congratulate the University of Birmingham Dubai on being chosen to host this exciting new Hub.

The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport

Francois Davenne, Director General of the UIC, commented: “With this regional competence hub, in partnership with the University of Birmingham Dubai, we aim to foster excellence in research and innovation. It will bring closer together the academic and rail operating communities for the intelligent development of railways and inspire the railway engineers of the future.”

The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, visited the University of Birmingham’s Dubai campus to mark the official launch of Hub. He said: “The UK has always been a pioneer for transport innovation and this Hub will help further improve skills across rail by sharing expertise internationally. I congratulate the University of Birmingham Dubai on being chosen to host this exciting new Hub."