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25.09.2012

ETRA launched at reception in Brussels on 20th September 2012

ETRA launched at reception in Brussels on 20th September 2012



On 20th September 2012, the official launch of the European Transport Research Alliance – ETRA took place in Brussels. In an official ceremony, the Presidents of five major European associations and fora representing many transport research organisations each signed the document creating the Alliance and containing the Terms of Reference (ToR) for its operation. The signatories, and founding members of the Alliance were: ECTRI (European Conference of Transport Research Institutes), EURNEX (the European Rail Research Network of Excellence), FEHRL (Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories), FERSI (Forum of European Road Safety Institutes) and HUMANIST (the Human centered design Network for Information Society Technologies).

The creation of the Alliance is the culmination of a process to bring together different transport research stakeholders and create the cooperation and integration of European transport research that is a necessary pre-requisite on the road to the creation of the common European research space known as the European Research Area - ERA. The ETRA initiative is supported by the European Commission and its creation came as a result of the preparatory work done under an EU-funded project, DETRA (Developing the European Transport Research Alliance), coordinated by FEHRL.

Besides their commitment to work together on deepening the ERA in the field of transport and addressing the Grand Challenges with which Europe is faced, the founding organisations have defined a number of more detailed objectives for the Alliance which are the following:

1. Providing a structure for the interchange of knowledge and making joint efforts to foster research results through to their full implementation;
2. Promoting the setting of joint transport research priorities and coordinating research programmes and initiatives;
3. Promoting cooperation in all relevant areas – starting with its partner organisations and, where possible, developing cross-modal and interdisciplinary joint research activities (including JRIs);
4. Preparing common position papers (e.g. Strategic Research Agendas, road maps) on key transport related issues for added value to the transport users and the community as a whole;
5. Joint strengthening of the European research expertise, research infrastructures and mobility of researchers through specific joint actions and initiatives;
6. Promoting the uptake of European transport expertise and innovation internationally and vice versa;
7. Supporting the continued development of TRA (the Transport Research Arena Conference) as the major European and international conference bringing together all stakeholders in the sector; and
8. Other related initiatives as necessary.
The new organisation complements the existing structures for transport research and innovation provision in Europe by bringing a multi-modal and research-led forum which will contribute to important debates on the future of European transport. In this respect, it is expected to complement the European Technology Platforms, the Advisory Groups and other bodies advising the European Commission on issues of transport research and innovation production.

The event in Brussels was attended by many representatives of major organisations and associations in the field of European transport research, representatives of the European Commission and other stakeholders. 

This reception was moderated by FEHRL President, Joris Al, and also included presentations by Dr. András Siegler, Director of the EC's DG Research & Innovation Directorate H – Transport and new Chair of ETRA, Professor George Giannopolous of CERTH. It was also an opportunity to say farewell to Jean-Pierre Médevielle of IFSTTAR, the driving force behind the original Lyon Declaration process and the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the new ETRA, who retires at the end of October 2012. Materials from the event are available here and videos and more photos will be added shortly.

The founding members elected Prof. George A. Giannopoulos of the Hellenic Institute of Transport as Chair of the ETRA for the next two years. Prof. Giannopoulos is past Chairman of ECTRI and has been active in the European transport research scene for many decades. Speaking to the audience at the launch ceremony, Prof. Giannopoulos underlined that, as Chair of ETRA, he will work to promote the objectives of the Alliance, while respecting its core values which, as defined in the ToR signed by the founding members, comprise the following three principles:

i. Transparency;
ii. Mutual respect for distinctive roles and positions; and a
iii. Conviction and willingness to go forward together to develop the ERA in Transport.

The offices and contact details for the ETRA will be announced soon, but all current enquiries can be addressed to:

Mr. Steve Philips
Secretary-General
FEHRL
Bd de la Woluwe 42/B3
1200 Brussels
Belgium
Email: steve.phillips@fehrl.org
Tel: +32 2 775 82 38.






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