NRA Collaboration Programme
There is considerable benefit to be gained from collaborative research whereby access to a large project or specialist expertise can be gained for a relatively small financial contribution. It also provides a very effective means of knowledge transfer and the opportunity to tap into a high quality research and leading-edge science and technology. Methods of collaboration include:
- Participation in co-funded projects at universities and third level institutions
- Collaboration with National bodies which sponsor research activities in Ireland such as SFI (Science Foundation Ireland), IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology), etc.
- Involvement in European working groups and committees such as FEHRL (Federation of European National Highway Research Laboratories), CEDR (Conference of European Directors of Roads) and ERTRAC (European Road Transport Research Advisory Council).
- Opportunities through EU funded research (eg, 7th Framework Programme).
- Jointly funded projects such as those initiated by ERA-NET (European Research Arena Network) ROAD and similar organisations.
The Authority keeps close contact with these organisations and maintains membership of a number of EU organisations including CEDR, FEHRL, ERA-NET ROAD, ERTRAC and PIARC to ensure that it is aware of international research activity in road transport and of the opportunities provided by collaboration with other organisations. These organisations are described in more detail in Section 7. The Research Manager, as part of his job description, maintains a network of contacts at both national and international level to ensure that the Authority is kept aware of the opportunities provided by such collaboration projects.
Benefits of collaboration
Collaboration is a very effective means of obtaining research and one which is to be encouraged as it presents much greater value for money by avoiding repetition and duplication. The advantages of collaboration include:
• Application of international best practice
• Reduced duplication of research
• Improved quality of research
• Increased competition and shorter timescales
• Wider choice of suppliers
• Exchange of knowledge with European partners
• Better value for money.
The four step approach to collaborative research (adapted from ERA-NET ROAD) is presented below. This illustrates the decision-making process used to determine when collaboration is appropriate and to identify collaboration opportunities.