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FEHRL celebrates its 25th anniversary
Last week (Thursday 13th November 2014), FEHRL celebrated 25 years of fostering research on road infrastructures in Europe and beyond with an afternoon event for around 70 FEHRL key stakeholders, partners and institute members at FEHRL member, the Belgian Road Research Centre (BRRC) in Sterrebeek, near Brussels, Belgium. Entitled “A great support to research for road infrastructures in Europe and beyond” and chaired by Thierry Goger, FEHRL Secretary General, the event was structured into two sessions:
First session: 25 years fostering research on road infrastructures in Europe and beyond
This session covered a series of short presentations by key FEHRL members and stakeholders about the highlights of the past quarter of a century. Following a short opening by Thierry Goger, Ann Vanelstraete, Head of Department at BRRC, welcomed everyone to the venue on behalf of BRRC. Stefan Strick, President of another FEHRL member, the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) and FEHRL’s current President, gave an interesting and complete retrospective on FEHRL’s main achievements and added-value. One of these is FEHRL’s involvement in the series of Transport Research Arena (TRA) conferences, and he was followed by Patrick Malléjacq, Director for European and International Affairs at FEHRL member, the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR), who presented the lessons learnt from IFSTTAR’s management of TRA2014 in Paris last April.
The application of research outcomes was the topic of the presentation then made by Steve Phillips, Secretary General of FEHRL stakeholder, the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR), who outlined FEHRL’s work in conjunction with CEDR over the past years and this was picked up by Manfred Haider, Head of Business Unit, at FEHRL member, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) Chairman of FEHRL Research Coordinators, who gave the viewpoint of researchers and outlined how FEHRL has succeeded in leveraging research development thanks to cooperation.
Second session: Forward-looking developments
The second session, focused on future road and transport infrastructure developments, started with an engaging presentation on FEHRL’s flagship FORx4 (Forever Open Road, Rail, Runway and River) Co-Modal Transport Initiative for Research by Bob Collis, Director of Infrastructure at FEHRL member, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and FEHRL Executive Committee member.
Several external stakeholders then shared their respective future visions, starting with Torsten Klimke, Deputy-Head of Unit, Research and Innovative Transport Systems Unit at DG MOVE of the European Commission. He outlined how road infrastructures are a key element for the future of European mobility, which included his expectations for FEHRL. Georgia Aifadopoulou, Deputy Director of HIT/CERTH (Hellenic Institute Transport), on behalf of George A. Giannopoulos, President of European Transport Research Alliance (ETRA), then presented how ETRA works to enhance cooperation between European and International Transport Research Organisations. She was followed by Gunter Zimmermeyer, Vice President of the Deutsche Verkehrswacht (DVW) and Chairman of the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) who gave his highlights on key elements for success towards more Industry driven research in transport.
Moving back to FEHRL members, Debra Elston, Office Director, Corporate Research, Technology and Innovation Management, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), shared how FEHRL is an enabling agent for international cooperation and how FHWA and FEHRL have moved from a conceptual agreement to tangible achievements which bode well for future development. And finally Hélène Jacquot-Guimbal, General Director of IFSTTAR and Vice-President of FEHRL closed the event with some pertinent forward-looking remarks, which included the continuing involvement of women in research.
The event ended with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CEDR between Stefan Strick and CEDR Chairman, Simon Grima, also Chief Officer of the Roads and Infrastructure Directorate of Transport Malta. This MoU aims at developing further the cooperation between FEHRL and CEDR and opening up the potential areas of future collaboration.
The event was followed by a cocktail where a FEHRL birthday cake was enjoyed by everyone. Copies of all relevant materials are available on the FEHRL website and you can see some photos here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any further information.
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