Connecting transport research solutions to European transport policy
A new, free web-service launched this week will raise the visibility of transport research solutions emerging from EU and national research programmes from the European Research Area (ERA).
Europe is delivering vast amounts of results in terms of both technologies and concepts that are produced by thousands of researchers. But, how to identify and extract key deliverables and build on them, avoiding duplication or the re-inventing of solutions? The answer lies evidently on the availability of knowledge which in its turn depends on the dissemination and promotion of the research results. All this knowledge needs to be collected and made available in order to be put to good use, not only by the research and business communities, but also by public service providers and governments.
To cope with such a challenge the European Commission is launching the Transport Research Knowledge Centre, a web-based information portal, which is designed to raise awareness of the outputs of transport research at European and national levels and provides analyses of how these can be utilised to shape the European transport policy for sustainable mobility.
To feed this initiative, the political support from, and close links to key national stakeholders, notably representatives from ERA member states, is absolutely critical. For the first time, the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, supported by the EXTR@Web consortium that manages the service, have involved senior national representatives to ensure the political and institutional commitment as well as hands-on support from the ERA countries.
But collecting transport research information across such a range of countries (30 in total) is an ambitious process that can only succeed if harmonised and standardised methods are used. To this end, the consortium has developed a Common European Transport Research Reporting Scheme, known as the Reporting Scheme, consisting of reporting forms for use by the transport research community. Information can be provided electronically using online forms, which are accessible via a dedicated and secure extranet (www.transport-research.info). Alternatively, Word forms can be downloaded from the website to be completed off-line and then sent to the EXTR@Web Programme Analysis Group (PAG) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first step towards a comprehensive and dynamic knowledge database for transport research has been provided in the form of 226 programme forms on selected European and national transport research activities in Europe. This programme level analysis is considered to provide significant added value to the ERA countries, as most countries do not possess a single overview of all their national programmes related to transport.
To make this information accessible to a wider public, it has been summarised in a Guide to national programmes and other research activities across the European Research Area, which in addition to providing data on all major national transport research programme activities, gives overviews on the transport research structure and environment in each of the 30 ERA countries. This guide is now available for download for the launch of the Transport Research Knowledge Centre website.
The Transport Research Knowledge Centre service opens on 5 July 2004 at http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/extra where users can search for transport research programme and projects and register to the free monthly e-newsletter. Further information is also available from email@example.com. The Transport Research Knowledge Centre will be present at the World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR) in Istanbul on 5-8 July 2004
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