INTERNATIONAL: The UK’s Rail Safety & Standards Board and UIC signed a memorandum of understanding last month to develop an online web portal known as Railway Research to foster global co-operation.

The web application, which will be hosted by UIC’s International Rail Research Board, is an extension of the Spark platform developed for the UK by RSSB.

Intended to allow rail industry researchers to ‘share knowledge more effectively online’, Spark is intended to enable findings to be shared more widely, or for existing results to be traced more rapidly, with the intention that duplication can be minimised.

‘Spark is like an online library and a social network all wrapped into one’, explained RSSB’s Head of Research Guy Woodroffe, adding that UIC members could use Spark ‘off-the-shelf to prevent wheel reinvention and duplication of existing extranets and libraries’.

The international portal within Spark will be accessible from January 2013, along with a general-purpose ‘reader level’ function.