School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Mark Robinson

Director of NewRail and Professor of Rail Systems Engineering

Background

Introduction

Professor of Rail Systems Engineering, School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Newcastle University since 2005 and Director of Newcastle Centre for Rail Research (NewRail) since 2004. From 2000 to 2004 he was Director of the Advanced Railway Research Centre (ARRC) at Sheffield University. Main research interests include the development and application of lightweight materials for rail vehicles and crashworthy composite structures. In 2009 he received the Institute of Mechanical Engineers Safety Award and the Alfred Rosling Bennett/Charles S Lake Award for his work on aluminium weld unzipping.

He has been actively involved in UIC’s International Rail Research since 2011 and was elected Vice-Chairman of the Board in March 2017. His role focuses on Area 03 which is the Global Research and Innovation Awards. The UIC IRRB took initiative to establish these new UIC Innovation Awards following the objectives set out in its ambitious work programme adopted on December the 9th 2011.

Every two years, UIC holds these awards to support and promote:

  • the development of theoretical, experimental and applied research in the railway sector;
  • the development of international cooperation in the field of rail research and innovation;
  • the promotion and attraction of leading experts from different countries, research institutes, universities, railway operators, infrastructure managers, railway suppliers, passenger transport agencies, government bodies in charge of transport and individual researchers to address the most important problems and challenges of modern railways.

 He has involved in the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) since 2008. He has contributed extensively including the preparation of ERRAC proposals such as ERRAC Roadmaps, FOSTER RAIL and more recently SETRIS.

On January 2015 he was elected President of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI) – January 2015 to January 2017. In December 2016 he was re-elected President for his final term to January 2019. The European Conference of Transport Research Institute’s members are the major transport research institutes from 19 European countries, accounting for more than 4000 European scientific and research staff in the field of transport.
In 2014 -2017 he was honoured by the China High End Foreign Experts Programme and in 2016 he was awarded 100 Talents from Fujian Province, both for high rail research activities.

Qualifications

MPhil in Polymer Technology Loughborough University of Technology 1985
PhD in Polymer Technology Loughborough University of Technology 1991
Fellow of The Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (FIMMM)
Chartered Engineer (CEng)
Chartered Scientist (CSci)

Previous Positions

Director of the Advanced Railway Research Centre (ARRC), University of Sheffield

Memberships

Member of the European Railway Research Advisory Council and co-chairman of the ERRAC Evaluation Working Group.
President of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI) - January 2015 to January 2019
Vice Chairman of UIC International Rail Research Board (IRRB)

Honours and Awards

2016 Selected for 100 Talents for Fujian Province.
2014 China High End Experts Programme (HEEP)
2009 Awarded the IMechE Alfred Rosling Bennett Premium/Charles S Lake Award for a paper entitled “Investigation of the Weld Unzipping Failure Mode during Collisions of Welded Aluminium Rail Vehicles”.
2008 IMechE Safety Award in Mechanical Engineering for “Investigation of the Weld Unzipping Failure Mode during Collisions of Welded Aluminium Rail Vehicles”.

Research

Research Interests

Main research interests include railway technology and transport-related issues. He has many esteem indicators such as Evaluator and Member of the Hearings panel for DG Research “New generation of multifunctional materials and technologies for surface transport“ (2004), and co-author of “A Joint Strategy for European Rail Research-2020. Towards a Single European Rail System”, published by UNIFE, to provide a common vision for European Rail Research. (2002).

He is a specialist in composites, investigating the replacement of metals with composite materials in the rail industry and other transport sectors. Particular interests are fire safety, energy absorbent crashworthy composites and lightweight structures for transport applications.

Main research interests include the development and application of lightweight materials for rail vehicles and crashworthy composite structures.

He is a Member of the European Railway Research Advisory Council and co-chairman of the ERRAC Evaluation Working Group.

Other Expertise

Professor Robinson is a specialist in composites, investigating the replacement of metals with composite materials in the rail industry and other transport sectors. Of particular interest are fire safety, energy absorbent crashworthy structures and lightweight composites and materials for transport applications. He is a recent winner of the JEC AWARD for “Composites in Land Transport”. The JEC (European Composite Exhibition) Awards are the highlight of the international composites industry year.

Research

Current Work

The aim of SETRIS is to deliver a cohesive and coordinated approach to research and innovation strategies for all transport modes in Europe.

 To fulfil the aim of SETRIS, the following objectives are envisaged:

1. To identify synergies between the transport European Technology Platforms (ETPs) strategic and research and innovation agendas (SRIAs) and between these and relevant national platforms in Member States and associated countries;

2. To review and update the existing SRIAs for each of the transport ETPs within a multi-modal and integrated transport system framework;

3. To benchmark past and present research initiatives affecting the achievement of integrated transport SRIAs and market uptake;

4. To define comprehensive, credible and realistic implementation plans for each SRIAs in a coordinated framework of running ETPs;

5. To support, shape and contribute to future Transport Research Arena (TRA) events leading to a significant increment in the prominence of transport research and innovation activities.


Postgraduate Supervision

Current Supervision:

  • Implementation of Composite Materials in Railway Rolling Stock
  • Assessing supplier behaviour in response to urban freight interventions
  • Improved design of short neutral section through dynamic modelling of performance
  • New designs for rail freight interchanges
  • Imaging railway substructure using ground penetrating radar
  • A freight industry tool to maximise profit for infrastructure managers and freight service operators.

    Completed PhDs and MPhils

    • Modelling the structural integrity of composite sandwich panels in fire
    • Integrity of Composite Aircraft Materials under Post Crash Fire Conditions
    • Design and Optimisation of Sandwich Structures for Transport Applications
    • Volumetrically Optimised Energy Absorbing Structures
    • Manufacturing of Marine Structures in Thermoplastics
    • Fire protection system for composite structures
    • Freight logistics
    • Some Aspects of the Energy Absorption of Composite Materials
    • A study of crashworthiness design of rail vehicles and statistical analysis of railway accidents
    • Design of crashworthy composite vehicle end structures in railway rolling stock
    • The case for small train technology as a means of enhancing the commercial, technical and operational capability of rail freight
    • Impact on composite sandwich structures
    • Modelling of Sandwich Composites for Land Transport Applications
    • Composites limits under load in fire using cone calorimeter

    Esteem Indicators

    Vice Chairman of UIC International Rail Research Board (IRRB)

    President of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI) - January 2015 - January 2017.  Re-elected for final term until January 2019.

    Member of the Programme Committee, TRA 2016, Warsaw, Poland.

    Guest Professor - School of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, Xiamen University of Technology, China until 2019

    Key note address "Materials for Safety of Modern Rail Vehicles'" International Seminar on Rail Safety, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand.

    2013 Expert Peer Reviewer of research project proposals ) RPPs) in the 16th selection round of the Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program

    2012 Programme Coordinator - TRA 2014 Safety and Security, Transport Solutions from Research to Deployment - Innovate Mobility, Mobilise Innovation.  14-17 April 2014, La Defense, Paris, France

    2011  Member of the International Railway Research Board (IRRB) 

     2011 Member of the Scientific Committee 16th International Conference on Composite Structure (ICSS/16), 28-30 June 2011 at the University of Porto, Port, Portugal

    2009 Associate Dean Transport, Newcastle University

    2009 Member of the Scientific Committee for 15th International Conference on Composite Structures (ICCS/15), 15-17 June, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

    2008 Member European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) and Co-chairman of the Evaluation Working Group.

    2008 Member of the Scientific Committee for DURACOSYS 2008 8th International Conference on Durability of Composite Systems, 16 – 18th JULY 2008, Porto, Portugal

    2008 Member of the International Program Committee for 16th International Symposium on Electronics in Traffic, 9th and 10th October 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia

    2007 Evaluator for FP7-NMP-2007-LARGE-1 “Advanced Wood Based Composite Materials and their Production” Collaborative Projects.

    2007 Advisor Hellenic Railways

    2007 International Programme Committee Member ISEP 2007 – 15th International Symposium on Electronics in Transport “Applications of Intelligent Transport Systems” May 9 – 11, 2007 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

    2007 Evaluator for "Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies - NMP"

    2007 Member of the Scientific Committee for MATERIAIS 2007 – “Global Materials for the XXI Century: Challenges to Academia and Industry”, Porto, Portugal

    2006 Reviewer for DG Research for projects in surface transport.

    2005 Referee for EPSRC – Engineering Programme

    2005 Member of the Programme Team – Freight Element of the (DfT)
    TransportEnergy Best Practice Programme

    2004 Visiting Professor: University of Porto Department of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management

    2004 JEC AWARD Winner “Composites in Land Transport”
    The JEC (European Composite Exhibition) Awards are the highlight of the international composites industry year. Each year a jury of international experts selects the most relevant composite solutions in terms of know-how and innovation based on the following criteria: technical excellence, performance of the partnership developed among supplier, researcher, customer and end user, and the potential for creating new market openings. The competition is open to all organisations involved in the composites industry. Prof Mark Robinson Director of NewRail in the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering accepted the award of the HYCOPROD consortium.

    2004 Evaluator and Member of the Hearings panel for DG Research Industrial Technologies “Nanotechnology and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials, new production processes and devices – NMP Priority”. New generation of multifunctional materials and technologies for surface transport.

    2003 T4TECH Expert of the Month (July and August) Safety in Railways

    2003 ERRAC Committee Member for Passive Safety and Innovative Materials

    2002-2003 Member of the Cullen Recommendation 57 close-out committee. The only non-industrial academic representative providing research input on crashworthiness of aluminium joints following the Ladbroke Grove accident.

    2002 Author of “A Joint Strategy for European Rail Research-2020. Towards a Single European Rail System”, published by UNIFE. To provide a common vision for European Rail Research.

    2002 Chairman of the Materials and Manufacturing Session at the European Commission Conference “Surface Transport Technologies for Sustainable Development”, Valencia, Spain, 4-6 June 2002.

    2001-2002 Restructuring of Moldovan Railways Freight Services, Training and International Study Tour, included Transport Minister and Head of Moldovan Railways.

    2000 Costaferroviaria – training programme. Materials and Structures for rail vehicles.

    1998-2002 European Commission evaluator for DG Transport and Energy and extended evaluator for DG Research determining project priorities.

    1997-1998 Lecture tour to Korea to advise on the Korean High Speed Train. Materials and Structures lectures provided to:
     KRRI- Korean Railroad Research Institute.
     Korea High Speed Rail.
     Korea High Speed Rail Construction Authority.
     KITECH- Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.
     KAITECH- Korea Academy of Industrial Technology.
     KIST- Korea Institute of Science and Technology

    Patents

     

    International Patent (WO 2012/038383 A1 awarded for: "Lightweight compound cab structure for a rail vehicle".  An integrated self-supporting and deformation-resistant modular driver's cabin structure.

    UK Patent Application Nº 9300924.9
    Energy Absorbing Composite Material
     European Patent Application Nº 94300329
    Composite Structure

    Publications