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Research Fellow in Railway Digital Twin System Development

School of Engineering

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 24th Jan 2022
  • Salary: £31,406 to £40,927, with potential progression once in post to £43,434
  • REF: 81823
  • Closes: 22nd February 2022
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time


The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) is Europe’s largest academic-based group delivering railway science and education. With over 130 academics, researchers and professional support staff, BCRRE provides world class research and thought leadership within railways, and offers an expanding portfolio of high-quality education programmes.

BCRRE is lead partner in the newly-launched £92m UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) and the University of Birmingham will also be home to one of UKRRIN’s four Centres of Excellence, the Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems (CEDS). Core to CEDS’ research and technology are projects involving virtual environments for modelling and analysing railway systems, in particular CEDS’ Digital Twin project, where a virtual system, as a twin system to the real one, is developed for research, analysis and optimisation of railway systems. BCRRE is currently working on the EU project PerformingRail where the specialist Research Fellow in Railway Digital Twin System Development will work with the project team to carry out research, devise, develop and write appropriate software and associated applications.

Role Summary

The postholder will work closely with academic staff and researchers at CEDS to develop, test and implement new Railway Digital Twin system and related applications and then to carry out research and dissemination of results. S/he will collaborate closely with academic and industrial colleagues and will provide expert level knowledge and skills to develop, improve, maintain and support high quality software solutions fulfilling the requirements of research projects in CEDS.

Typical activities will include:

• Initiate and conduct original research which has measurable outcomes and is reflected in a growing national and often incipient international reputation

• Plan, design and co-ordinate research activities and programmes

• Contribute to the development of research strategies

• Contribute to the delivery of research proposals/bids/outcomes with academic staff

• Publish results of own research

• Contribute to the Department/School through management/leadership

• Develop and make substantial contributions to knowledge transfer, enterprise, business engagement, public engagement activities, widening participation, schools outreach or similar activities at Department/School level or further within the University

Main Duties

To plan and carry out research, using appropriate methodology and techniques, focussing on development of the Railway Digital Twin system and delivering research projects including PerformingRail and any follow-on projects of the same nature.

• Working closely with both senior BCRRE colleagues and industrial collaborators, formulate, evaluate and create the railway digital twin system. Develop and write appropriate software modules, e.g. for train control systems, Data communication systems, human factors, power and traction, passenger flows etc. This will require the postholder to use expert knowledge in both the railway system and software development.

• Design, develop and maintain railway software for BCRRE research in CEDS.

• Identify and proactively cultivate appropriate partnerships and external links with industrial partners, other UKRRIN Centres of Excellence and any other relevant bodies, for developing research ideas and winning support, including financial support.

• Plan, publish and/or execute high quality research

• Project manage research activities, and/or supervise other research staff

• Present findings in high quality publications and conference proceedings

• Develop novel methodologies and techniques appropriate to railway digital twin system developments

• Contribute to the delivery of research proposals/bids/outcomes with academic staff

• Provide expert advice to colleagues and students within discipline

• Contribute to the administration/management of research across BCRRE and UKRRIN. Work closely with BCRRE and other relevant colleagues to promote UKRRIN, CEDS and specifically the virtual railway environments to the wider industry. Represent BCRRE, UKRRIN and CEDS at industry and academic events, conferences, etc, as appropriate.

• Develop and make substantial contributions to knowledge transfer, enterprise, business engagement, , and public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University

• Contribute to some administrative activities within the University, typically relating to research

• Apply knowledge in a way that develops new intellectual understanding, including working closely with BCRRE colleagues on promotional and awareness-raising plans to achieve the research and delivery strategy in relation to software development and virtual railway system environments.

Person Specification

• A higher degree relevant to the research area (normally PhD) or equivalent qualifications. This would be an engineering subject with a PhD relevant to railway system and/or software development

• Extensive research and development experience and scholarship within subject specialism

• Experience and achievement reflected in a growing reputation

• Extensive experience and demonstrated success in planning, undertaking and project managing research to deliver high quality results

• Extensive experience of applying and/or developing and devising successful models, techniques and methods

• Extensive experience and achievement in knowledge transfer, enterprise and similar activity

Informal enquiries to Dr Lei Chen, email:l.chen@bham.ac.uk

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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