Rail Innovation & Technology Centre (RITC) at the University of Sheffield

Network Rail and the University of Sheffield have entered into a five year agreement for collaborative research. The RITC is under the direction of Dr David Fletcher of the Department of Mechanical Engineering but extends across the entire engineering faculty – a world-leader across most engineering disciplines. Through this collaboration, Network Rail seeks to stimulate "a new vitality in railway infrastructure engineering through investment in innovation and new technology".

The focus of the RITC's activity is intelligent systems engineering involving detection, sensing, communication, materials, structures and software technologies that can be applied to rail infrastructure, operations and traffic, i.e.

  • the track (materials, installation, monitoring, maintenance, design, and performance);
  • associated vehicles (trains and their operation),
  • other plant (e.g. signalling, communications, information management).

While focussing on this central theme, no aspect of railway-related research is excluded and collaborative projects will be encouraged in any relevant area.

The RITC will:

  • identify Network Rail’s research and development needs, matching projects and expertise against them,
  • present Network Rail with a range of state-of-the-art engineering research outcomes (e.g. IP) and ongoing activity from which it can draw, use to stimulate its own thinking or contribute to or collaborate in.

Network Rail works with several university partners and both they and the University of Sheffield are free to work with other universities and organisations. Wider collaboration is therefore sought.

The Director is Dr David Fletcher (Mechanical Engineering) and Dr Jon Paragreen (Mechanical Engineering) the Deputy Director. The Centre Administrator is Mr Matthew Ham (Automatic Control & Systems Engineering).

The RITC can be contacted on 0114 222 5641.