Birmingham connects Brazil's railways to hi-tech future partnership

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Professor Clive Roberts and Rodrigo Otavio Moreira da Cruz, Deputy Executive Secretary MINFRA

University of Birmingham railways experts will work with the Ministry of Infrastructure (MINFRA) of Brazil to develop and deliver cutting-edge research and education programmes to improve journeys for people in Brazil.

Brazil is investing more than $15 billion in its railways across 11 major projects – including building the remaining sections of the North-South corridor, which will connect two of the country’s main ports - Itaqui and Santos.

The University and MINFRA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to identify joint research and education programmes that will support Brazil’s drive to overhaul its rail network.

Professor Clive Roberts, Head of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at the University of Birmingham, signed the agreement at a special ceremony attended by Rodrigo Cruz - Deputy Executive Secretary of MINFRA.

Professor Roberts commented: “Using the latest technological developments, governments and businesses can transform the railways with a much better value for money, improving their capacity and efficiency in transporting people and goods to support economic growth.

“The University of Birmingham is a global leader in rail research and innovation. Signing this MoU strengthens our links with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Brazilian Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Ferroviarias, and we look forward to contributing to the development of railway education and research in Brazil.”

BCRRE is an international research and teaching centre with strong international links that include Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand, United States and United Arab Emirates, among other. So far, over 1,000 students from more than 40 countries including Brazil, Peru, and Argentina have completed its education programmes.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education is also at the forefront of the UK Rail Research Innovation Network (UKRRIN), a £92 million pound initiative for the next generation of applied research in railway engineering and technology. As part of the UKRRIN initiative, the National Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems will be open next year at the University of Birmingham.

Professor Roberts added that his team was keen to grow a collaborative network with government, academic and private organisations in the Brazilian railway sector, as well as other countries in South America.

Rodrigo Cruz - Deputy Executive Secretary – Ministry of Infrastructure commented: "Brazil has one of the world's largest transportation infrastructure asset concession program in the world. In the rail sector, we are promoting a revolution. The Ministry of Infrastructure has a clear strategy. We want to balance our cargo transportation matrix by expanding railways and cabotage participation.

“Celebrating a partnership between the Ministry and the University of Birmingham, one of the worlds major Research and Developing solutions Centers for the Rail Sector, is aligned to our plan of providing the country with quality infrastructure in tune to the most updated solutions in the world.”

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) commented: “Birmingham is a global civic university and we are proud of our strong links with Brazilian institutions – whether through visiting fellowships or academic collaborations.

“Railways are growing at a rapid rate and, thanks to our expertise in this sector, the University of Birmingham is well placed to help Brazil adopt new technologies as it drives its railways towards a sustainable future.”

Notes to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312 or . For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165. 
  • 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 and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at the University of Birmingham is the largest university-based centre for railway research and education in Europe, developing world-leading new technologies alongside renowned higher education programmes.
  • Discover more about railway research and innovation in Birmingham or more information about the University’s research partnerships in Brazil.