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Evaluating the impact of rail research: Principles to maximise innovation uptake

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Roberto Palacin, Dr David GolightlyORCiD


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© Institution of Mechanical Engineers. This paper presents an analysis of railway research carried out in the UK, coupled with interview data from those with active experience of rail research. The aim of this work is to better understand the impact of research in order to identify key factors that influence successful implementation of outcomes, or present barriers to the development and adoption of rail innovation. The paper introduces the innovation context experienced by the rail sector, comparing it with other industries leading to a discussion of research gaps. Data was collected using interviews with industry research experts combined with an analysis of a sample of case studies, dating primarily from 1988 onwards. These data were assessed against three analytical frameworks: barriers and enablers, research process and research impact. Particular emphasis is placed on how research in the rail sector does not always follow the linear process typified by Technology Readiness Levels. The results of this exercise are then discussed leading to the conclusions including the definition of mechanisms that, if followed, could lead to maximising uptake of railway research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Palacin R, Golightly D, Ramdas V, Dadashi N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

Year: 2016

Volume: 230

Issue: 7

Pages: 1673-1686

Print publication date: 01/09/2016

Online publication date: 21/10/2015

Acceptance date: 14/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0954-4097

ISSN (electronic): 2041-3017

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0954409715610604


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Funder referenceFunder name
PPCA08092UK's Department for Transport