Since the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announcement in October 2010 of £200m to fund a number of Technology and Innovation Centres (TICs), the transport industry has been working together to define what a transport-related TIC would address and what it would deliver.
The funding available to the TICs is only limited and therefore the activities that an individual TIC can undertake have to be well-defined and ensure that it provides step change to “business as usual” in the targeted area. Three TICs have already been given the go-ahead, and in December 2011, the TSB is likely to make a decision as to whether or not a transport-related TIC will be considered for funding.
It is vital that prior to this, there is solid evidence to support the Transport TIC proposal.
The Story So Far
The discussion and debate around the need for a Technology and Innovation Centre has been on going since the programme was originally announced in December 2010 (View the TSB prospectus document). Three TIC’s have already been announced: High Value Manufacturing, Cell Therapy and Offshore Renewables.
The Technology Strategy Board is likely to make a decision on what the final subject areas for the remaining three TICs are to be in December 2011, after which, Expressions of Interest will be invited from those willing to set up and run the relevant TICs.
There are significant Transport challenges that face both the UK and the world, including ever-increasing urbanisation, population growth and energy scarcity. Effectively addressing these challenges provides significant opportunities for UK businesses and the economy to benefit.
At the moment, the need is therefore to provide solid evidence of the need and appetite for the Transport-related TIC to persuade the TSB to take a transport-related TIC to the EOI stage. This is best achieved through the coming together of interested parties on a pre-competitive basis to pool thinking, views and evidence to make the best case possible to the TSB.
Transport Systems and Integration TIC
The TSB has indicated that if a transport TIC were to go ahead that it should be in the area of Transport Systems and Integration. This narrows down the scope, but does not provide enough focus to enable a compelling case to be made. To achieve this, it is necessary to define the potential activities and benefits the TIC would bring that would not be realised without it. An important aspect is that the TIC should bring together a wide range of stakeholders to develop products and services that are of benefit to all modes of transport; road, rail, marine and aviation.
The key to making a clear case for the Transport TIC is to have focus on activities, which address the challenges above and provide business opportunities. Over the past few months there have been a significant number of activities aimed at helping to define the transport sector needs and common areas of technology development within the boundaries of Systems & Integration.
Some Recent Industry Engagement
1. The Rail Industry’s Technology Strategy Leadership Group (TSLG) undertook a significant study that outlined the industry needs, whilst being aware of the challenges of the other modes, and the economic case for a TIC. This document and a summary can be found in the Transport KTN’s TIC document library.
2. A workshop was held on 30th September 2011 with 25 leading transport sector specialists from across the road, rail and marine sectors. Academia, industry and government were also represented.
The attendees recognised that we are entering a world rich in data where technology enables more intelligent control, diagnosis of assets, feedback and operations in transport as well as creating new economic and business models for mobility. To gain the maximum benefit from these opportunities it was felt that a physical centre enabling a broad range of stakeholders to work together was required.
The workshop refined down a range of identified opportunities into a small number of key activities that will provide a step change in transport, icovering a number of areas including data and information systems, end to end journey assistance systems, modelling, monitoring and prognistics systems, traffic management and control, demand management and posistioning (please see the workshop summary document for a full list of these).
Organisations identified that they would be willing to be involved in a combination of ways:
Either through the commissioning of research, products and services undertaken and developed by the TIC
Secondment of staff in to the TIC to create a rich and diverse skill set that individual organisations would not normally be able to access, thereby leveraging and augmenting the existing in-house skill sets to deliver an increase on GVA over business as usual.
The full summary output from the workshop can be found in the Transport KTN TIC document library.
Do you want a Transport TIC? If so, what can you do to help?
Please take a look at the document and provide your views and feedback (just log in and click "comment", or email us if for some reason you don't want to make your thoughts public), particularly on the activities and benefits identified on page 4.
Some initial questions you could answer are:
Do you see opportunities for your organisation to benefit from these activities?
Would you participate in research projects in these areas (carrying out the research/demonstration/ testing), or are you already undertaking research in these areas?
Could your organisation become a customer for the output from these activities?
The more evidence we can collect that the TIC would provide real benefit to industry, the greater the chance is that the funds will be allocated to a Transport TIC. Just click ADD COMMENT to help make this happen!