ScotRail and GCU unveil £126,000 partnership programme

20 May 2013

Ken Docherty, Dr Janette Wark and Dr Babakalli Alkali

Ken Docherty, Dr Janette Wark and Dr Babakalli Alkali

A new collaboration between ScotRail and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is set to further enhance the reliability and efficiency of Scotland’s rail network.

Joint funding of £126,000 from ScotRail and the UK Government will support a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership which will see a graduate embedded within the train operator’s engineering team.

Recruitment is currently under way for a suitable candidate with the role being supervised by Dr Babakalli Alkali, from GCU’s Institute for Sustainable Engineering and Technology.

Dr Alkali’s team will work with ScotRail to review the company’s maintenance systems, further develop the techniques used to monitor the condition of passenger trains and will help to create a cost-effective maintenance strategy.

Dr Alkali will also support the company in categorising the company’s train fleet which will help to inform how resources are best allocated across the network.

The KTP programme is the UK's leading knowledge transfer scheme, helping businesses to access the knowledge and skills that reside within universities to improve competitiveness and productivity. The programme is funded by the Technology Strategy Board and 17 other funding organisations. 

Dr Babakalli Alkali works in GCU’s Department of Mechanical Electrical and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Built Environment and also in the Institute for Sustainable Engineering and Technology Research.

The project will recruit a single KTP Associate under the supervision of Dr Alkali with support from GCU’s Professor Chengke Zhou and Professor David Edgar.

Dr Alkali said: “We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious company in an area that should help to improve the passenger experience for thousands of commuters all over Scotland. Our academic team will draw on its vast industrial research experience and engage with ScotRail’s engineers to further improve the company’s already excellent levels of performance.”

Ken Docherty, Interim Engineering Director at ScotRail, said: “The opportunity to collaborate on this excellent project with one of Scotland’s leading universities is one we are relishing

“We are continually exploring ways to improve our services to Scotland and I’m confident that our new partnership with GCU will further assist us in that objective.”

Dr Janette Wark, GCU’s Knowledge Transfer Manager, said: “GCU has worked with a number of leading companies on KTP programmes and we are pleased to be adding such a respected brand as ScotRail to the list. KTPs can help companies to find innovative solutions to difficult problems.  They help businesses to increase their competitive advantage and continue to grow by accessing the immense expertise resident within the university sector.”