Yesterday saw colleagues from the UK Transport research community gather in Birmingham to hear about emerging priorities for Horizon 2020 at an event organised by the Transport team of the Knowledge Transfer Network (Transport KTN). Although priorities are not yet finalised, the audience were treated to a sneak preview of what 2016/17 may have in store and also some context about UK priorities and the process involved in defining the new work programme.
In the keynote addresses (chaired by our very own Prof Dave Raper), Prof Phil Blythe, the incoming Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Transport (DfT), provided an insight into the key issues that are vexing DfT and other government departments in relation to transport. Unsurprisingly the impact of the ageing population and mitigation and resilience are at the forefront of thinking. Key challenges highlighted for DfT included air quality; congestion and demand and ageing infrastructure. Phil also spoke about his personal desire to see better linkages between different organisations and agendas to get the ‘best bang for our buck’. As an EU research ‘veteran’ he was also able to offer words of wisdom encouraging colleagues to start small and learn the ropes as partners.
In the second keynote, Horizon 2020 Transport Advisory Group (TAG) member Dr Delia Dimitriu (MMU) presented an insight into the work of TAG and the way in which they have shaped the priorities for the next phase of the Transport area of Horizon 2020. She spoke about some of the underlying issues that TAG had identified and which are core to the next calls – the inter-relationship between transport technology, social acceptance and behavioural change; integration and dismantling ‘silos’ in transport research; exploiting the explosion in the availability of transport-related data and looking at transport in the context of external factors. Delia’s messages reinforced the need to think broadly about transport, consider integration and embed users fully in potential projects.
Of particular interest to the audience was the session led by National Contact Point, Louise Mothersole who gave some pointers on future calls and hinted that we should expect an early deadline for Transport. She also spoke of the importance of the often overlooked Coordination and Support Actions which are a key instruments in shaping future priorities – her advice was to get involved where you can even though direct financial rewards might be limited.
As footnote, it was also great to see one of MMU’s impressive delegation at the event in action in the elevator pitches. Prof Paul Hooper provided a two-minute pitch about ongoing work on non-acoustic factors associated with transport in the context of a potential European collaboration on Quiet Air Transport.
The Transport KTN will be making presentations (including Paul’s pitch!) available, so if you’re based at MMU and would like access let us know (email@example.com) and we will pass on information when we receive it.
For any colleagues from other organisations who have stumbled on the Blog, and are interested in the outputs of the event, we’d suggest keeping an eye on the Transport KTN website.