With 197 members across all five continents, the International Union of Railways (UIC UIC International Union of Railways ) is the worldwide organisation of the railway sector. Accordingly, its first task has been to support its members worldwide in (problem solving) research, standardisation and innovation. Therefore, in 2005, a special working body dealing with joint research, the International Railway Research Board (IRRB IRRB International Rail Research Board ), was founded.
The new Charter of IRRB and the new Terms of Reference were approved in 2009 and 2010 respectively. In December 2010 at the meeting of the UIC General Assembly in Beijing, the IRRB received the status of the official working body of UIC.
The International Rail Research Board in implementing its objectives will take on the following responsibilities and tasks:
- To promote more effectively and efficiently, the Research and Development activities that are conducted independently and self-supportively by each UIC member railway company and UIC member railway research organization” (the “research institution”) around the world, so that they will be able to contribute to the development of railways around the world.
- To inform each research institution in a timely and appropriate way, of the content of the research needs and activities of each of the UIC Working Bodies (such as those of the Rail System Forum, Passengers Forum, and Freight Forum and the Platforms).To discuss common regional research needs and priorities. If the R&D in these areas is not being conducted at UIC, then IRRB will be able to make suggestion to start up the R&D concerned to the relevant UIC activity organizations or to engage in common benchmark and research studies in case of common priorities whenever members would regard this as beneficial.
- The IRRB considers and handles all aspects of the railway system on a cross-sectoral basis
- To organise and facilitate for the benefit of each UIC member railway company and research institution, a broad exchange of information related to railway Research and Development undertaken at UIC and countries around the world. These activities are aimed to support the specification and prioritization of the issues and problems applicable to each situation as well as the related research needs, and thereby to make readily accessible to the interested parties the R&D activities (benchmark studies and research) of the fields concerned.
- To specify the fields which need to be standardized from among the railway Research and Development undertaken at UIC and countries around the world, so that each research institution will be able to propose to the international standardization organizations, or to their national and / or regional standardization organizations, the standardization of the fields concerned in a coordinated way.
- The promotion of globalization of the UIC Leaflets, to specify the fields which need to be reflected in the UIC Leaflets from among the railway R&D undertaken in countries around the world, and to propose a revision of the Leaflets concerned to the UIC activity organizations responsible for the Leaflets concerned.
- Other tasks may be identified by the IRRB
NB: The issue of Intellectual Property Rights is to be taken into account in the implementa-tion of the work carried out by the IRRB and its working groups.
Every three years, the IRRB shall prepare a strategic work program, summarising the major targets of their work and describing the way in which the responsibilities and tasks will be organised and implemented. This IRRB Work Program will be presented to the General Assembly.