ISRET 2018

Engineering and Physical Sciences, Exhibitions, International, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research, Students, Teaching
Monday 16th (09:00) - Wednesday 18th April 2018 (17:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Request for Letter of Invitation

If you require a letter of invitation for visa purposes, please request an application form from Nadeen Taylor. Scan the completed form and send it by email to with the subject line 'Visa invitation letter request'. The invitation letter will be sent via email and it may take up to 5 working days to process.

For more information about the conference, please contact:  

ISRET 2018 Header_and_logo2018 International Seminar for Railway Education and Training

Monday 16th April to Wednesday 18th April 2018, The University of Birmingham, UK

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, in collaboration with its industry based partners MTR Academy of Hong Kong and SMRT Institute of Singapore, invites you to the inaugural International Seminar for Railway Education and Training (ISRET 2018), to be held at the University of Birmingham, from 16th to 18th April 2018.

Demand for the services of the world's railway industry continues to grow rapidly, thanks to accelerating urbanisation and the realisation that the impact of transport activities on the environment must be reduced. Thus, the railways must satisfy the demands of increasingly sophisticated users in ever greater numbers. The passenger expects safety, shorter journey times, greater convenience and more comfort on board, while freight shippers and logistics companies need economic, timely and reliable collection and delivery of goods. Public bodies are having to reduce subsidies and other forms of financial support, while tasking the world's railways with delivering better environmental performance in terms of emissions, noise and vibrations. Today, it is often the railways' competitors that are setting the gold standard in these areas. Thus, excellence and sustained professionalism in all aspects of railway operations, railway engineering and management are becoming critical to the railways' survival and success. Only high standards of education and training will allow the railways to address the challenges of:

  • Lowering the workforce age profile of long established railways, while maintaining competence;
  • Encouraging well-educated and well-trained young people to enter all levels of the railway professions;
  • Developing the high skill levels in design, implementation, operation and maintenance that are necessary for introducing and using complex technologies in the railway industry;
  • Transferring operational and technical expertise from experienced to new staff to ensure the robust performance of all types of railway, from high-speed lines to high capacity urban systems and to trams;
  • Applying best international practice in railway management to use existing infrastructure, rolling stock and other assets to the limit of their capability without  risking rapid degradation, incidents and accidents.

ISRET 2018 provides a forum for senior managers and engineers, educators and trainers, human resources staff, operators, maintainers, government bodies and other stakeholders to present and discuss training and education best practice, new teaching methods and learning technologies and how these might be best applied to serve the modern railway.

Seminar Objectives

The objectives of ISRET 2018 are to:

  • Identify the education and training challenges that must be addressed by the metro and mainline industry;
  • Establish and disseminate best practice in railway education and training;
  • Develop international partnerships between education institutions, training providers and employers;
  • Learn from the education and training expertise of The University of Birmingham, MTR Academy, SMRT Institute, the Singapore Rail Academy, NTAR, NSAR, the High-Speed Rail College in Birmingham and other experts in the field.

To book a place, please click on the following link

Call for Papers

We invite participants to submit abstracts for papers and presentations that address the challenges and objectives given above. Abstracts should focus on the following suggested themes:

  • Economy, Reliability and Safety through the Development of People ;
  • Railway Industry's Challenges (Workforce Development);
  • Railway Industry's Challenges (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion);
  • Railway Education informed by Railway Research;
  • Research into Railway Education and Training;
  • Generalist Skills vs. Systems Engineering Skills vs. Specialist Skills;
  • Innovative Approaches to Railway Education;
  • Innovative Approaches to Railway Training;
  • Innovative Approaches to Knowledge/Competency Transfer;
  • Innovative High Performing Asset Management;
  • International Relationships in Railway Education and Training.

Please submit your abstract via email to with the subject line 'ISRET 2018 Abstract: name and organisation', by the 31st January for review by our technical panel. The submission deadline for the full conference paper/presentation is 2 March 2018. Well received papers will be published in a special issue of Birmingham's in-house journal of Education.

                      Seminar Organising Committee (TBC)                                                                                                                        Seminar Technical Committee (TBC)
Carolyn Griffiths, Former Head of RAIB (Chair) Heather Close, University of Birmingham (Chair)
Morris Cheung, MTR Academy, Hong Kong Alex Burrows, Alstom, UK
Dr Rob Ellis, University of Birmingham Dr Holly Foss, University of Birmingham
Joy Grey, University of Birmingham Dr Mark Ho, MTR Academy, Hong Kong
Robert Hopkin, Rail Alliance Huey Ling Kang, SMRT, Singapore
Prof Clive Roberts, University of Birmingham Dr Hongsin Kim, University of Birmingham
Prof Felix Schmid, University of Birmingham Francoise Manderscheid, Ecole Nationale des Ponts
Nadeen Taylor, University of Birmingham Torstein Nielsen, Ramboll, Denmark
Mary Winkles, University of Birmingham Prof Felix Schmid, University of Birmingham


Format of the International Seminar
 Day Date                 Activities                          
 Day 1/Monday 16th April 2018 Seminar, Exhibition and networking followed by a Gala Dinner at Birmingham Council House (for all delegates).  
 Day 2/Tuesday 17th April 2018 Seminar, exhibition and networking followed by the meeting of a Working Group (by invitation).  
 Day 3/Wednesday               18th April 2018 Education and Training Workshops at the University of Birmingham OR Visit and tour of Alstom's Widnes Training Centre, Including the opportunity to try VR spray Painting (coach transportation provided).

Gala Dinner

In the heart of Birmingham's city centre, the Council House is a beautiful Grade II listed building. Since its opening, this venue has received and welcomed members of the Royal Family, world leaders, businesses and global organisations. This will be the setting for the Gala Dinner on Monday 16th April with a drinks reception from 18:30 and from 19:30 onwards.

Keynote speakers

Kathleen Armour, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) at the University of Birmingham; Steve Featherstone, President of the Permanent Way Institution (PWI); Clair Mowbray, CEO of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR); and Michelle Nolan-McSweeney, Head of Training Strategy at Network Rail.

Registration Fees

 Participation Tier Standard RateUoB Graduate or YRP Member Rate UoB Student Rate
 3-day Seminar including Gala Dinner and either the UoB Education and Training Workshop or a visit to Alstom's Widnes Training Centre                              £530                            £400                              £200                           
 2-day Seminar only which includes a seat at the Gala Dinner  £450  £350  £150
 Education and Training Workshop only  £150  £100  £50
 Visit to Alstom's Widnes Training Centre  £115  £65  £50
 Exhibition stand and access for one person to the 2 day Seminar and Gala Dinner  £1000  N/A  N/A


For special room rates at Hampton by Hilton (Broad Street, Birmingham), please click on the link below and book by Friday 16th March.

Other available hotels:

Crowne Plaza Birmingham  Telephone: +44 (0) 121 224 5000
Jurys Inn Birmingham   Telephone: +44 (0) 121 606 9000
Malmaison Birmingham   Telephone: +44 (0) 121 794 3004
Hotel Ibis Birmingham New Street Station   Telephone: +44 (0) 121 619 9000