Over the past decade there has been a significant level of investment throughout Europe in the digitalisation of the rail network; with sensors installed on the infrastructure and vehicles, the deployment of next generation traffic management systems that allow real-time management of the system, and the provision of mobile applications for passengers and staff. Despite the wealth of new data provided by these systems, the railways are still struggling in their aspiration to be an information-led industry due to a lack of traceability of information usage, and the commercial barriers between stakeholders.
Blockchains are a disruptive technology that have the potential to accelerate the development of rail as the primary medium-distance carrier within the wider multi-modal transportation system. Directly funded by the rail industry via the EU Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking, the B4CM project will identify key use cases for the technology within the railways, deliver a blockchain-based testbed that enables the benefits of the technology to be formally evaluated, and demonstrate the value of blockchains in the attribution of data costs across organisational boundaries within the European rail sector.
Alongside the condition monitoring use case and testbed development, the project will explore other relevant use cases that leverage blockchains as a backbone infrastructure, such as the linkage between rail and the wider Mobility as a Service (MaaS) sector; this work will be conducted in partnership with established actors in the MaaS industry.
The successful candidate will receive funding for their studies over a three-year period. They will be based in the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), part of the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham. The Centre is a world-leader in research on railway systems, with over 160 staff and postgraduate students working in the areas of condition monitoring, traffic management & simulation, data / information management, and cyber security for the rail industry. BCRRE is also the lead academic partner in the £92 million UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), a group of 4 Centres of Excellence offering world-leading research facilities to the industry.
The successful candidate will:
- Hold a minimum of a 2:1 degree in Computer Science or related field
- Be able to demonstrate excellent software development and communication skills
Ideally the successful candidate will:
- Be able to evidence existing experience of working with one or more blockchain platforms
Further Information: More information on the research group is available at https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/railway and further information on UKRRIN can be found at https://www.ukrrin.org.uk
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No: 826156.