INTERNATIONAL: Following a successful pilot programme running since September 2013, Zhijiang University in Hangzhou, China, is formally launching this month a postgraduate programme in safety and risk management in partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the UK universities of Birmingham and York.

The partnership can be traced back to the aftermath of the serious accidents on Chinese main line and metro networks in 2010, most notably the collision at Wenzhou. Zhejiang University issued an invitation to tender to a number of organisations in the UK requesting proposals for the development of an appropriate MSc programme on safety and risk, which would be hosted primarily in Hangzhou.

The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research & Education and the High Integrity Systems Engineering Group at York jointly submitted a tender covering two distinct inputs - railway engineering expertise and risk management skills. Following a review process, Lloyd’s Register then agreed to commit £1·5m over five years to sponsoring the programme with the support of Birmingham and York, and it is hosting a launch event in London in mid-February.

The programme is open to students at four levels: Masters of Science, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, and as part of Continuing Professional Development. Staff at Zhejiang University selected an initial intake of 10 candidates, based on their performance in the first year of a postgraduate programme in automatic control. Lecturers from Zhejiang visited the UK in 2013 as part of the pre-launch pilot programme.

Aidan Nelson, a former director of the UK’s Rail Safety & Standards Board, has been appointed as external advisor to oversee the development and implementation of the programme.