New academia-industry coalition to boost research, innovation for Australian railways

Professor Ravi Ravitharan, director of the Monash Institute of Railway Technology. Image credit: Monash University 

Five leading Australian universities are joining forces to establish the Australian Railway and Innovation Network (AusRRIN), which will help deliver the critical railway research and innovation necessary for the future of Australia’s railways. 

AusRRIN will be formalised by signing a memorandum of understanding between Monash University’s Institute of Railway Technology (IRT), Central Queensland University, the University of Queensland, the University of Wollongong and the University of Technology Sydney. 

These universities will also be joined by five railway industry entities, namely the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board, Australasian Railway Association, the Rail Track Association Australia, and the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers. 

Senator Tim Ayres, assistant minister for trade and manufacturing, said the AusRRIN initiative is a great example of the collaboration between research and industry that the government is supporting under the National Manufacturing Plan and the National Rail Procurement and Manufacturing Strategy

“I look forward to AusRRIN’s contribution to the development of trains that are designed and built to Australia’s unique condition – lowering costs for government and industry, improving the quality of the commuter experience and lowering our national transport emissions,” Ayres said. 

“Strong research and innovation is a key enabler to build at scale, a sustainable, advanced manufacturing base in Australia. We can build on the capabilities of Australian manufacturing to design and construct efficient, modern, low-emission rolling stock that will carry Australians and freight for decades to come. We can export decarbonised products to the world,” said Jacqui Walters, chair of the Rail Industry Innovation Council and advocate for National Rail Manufacturing. 

Ayres will be joined by Walters at the official launch of AusRRIN today at Sydney’s Central Station. 

“Advanced technologies will continue to play a critical role to improve efficiencies, safety, resilience and sustainability, and in seamlessly integrating multi-modal transport networks to meet Australia’s changing demands. In addition, railways will play an important role in supporting Australia’s ambitions to achieve a net zero carbon emissions reduction target by 2050,” said Professor Ravi Ravitharan, director of Monash IRT.