The activities within the Transport Business Area focus on applied research in its bridging function, ranging from basic research and future technologies to economically implementable innovations. This results in a balancing act characterised by numerous collaborations and simultaneously also by competition with universities and research facilities as well as companies for the most innovative topics and the finest minds, as well as external industrial and public funding.
DLR is open to strategic collaboration with excellent universities and research facilities as well as leading companies. It is only by combining scientific expertise and joint use of large-scale facilities that comprehensive handling of the great and complex challenges of our time can be achieved. This approach provides the necessary advantages in global competition. Furthermore, long-term strategic cooperation is necessary in the interests of optimal resource utilisation.
Universities and Research Organisations
The transport institutes of universities form an essential pillar of research in Germany and other European countries. These institutes can be roughly divided into two different research directions, oriented primarily to social sciences or technical issues. Further differentiations result from specialisations, for example regarding the various modes of transport.
The alignment of the Transport Business Area follows this dual orientation, but with a clear focus on technical subjects. DLR does not seek to compete with universities and research organisations, but to act as a complementary partner specialised in large-scale research. The aim is to produce a specific added value for German transport research in order to jointly achieve more with our partners at a national and European level.
Our institute directors and research managers are jointly appointed with leading universities. This guarantees close cooperation in research and teaching as well as access to a very well educated generation of young scientists. Outstanding representatives of universities and research organisations participate directly in discussing our activities as members of DLR supervisory boards, as consulting experts in the advisory boards of our institutes and projects, or as reviewers in evaluations of research projects.
A particularly close cooperation with university partners exists within the scope of the Virtual Institutes sponsored by the Helmholtz Association. DLR is extraordinarily successful with four Virtual Institutes – Human Automation, Design of Safety-critical Automotive Systems, Traffic Analyses, and Airport Planning and Management – which were acquired in the course of Helmholtz-wide competition. Furthermore, the Transport Business Area has gained recognition by proposing the formation of the Helmholtz University Young Investigators Group SeaKLIM, which offers post-doctoral researcher candidates selected in a multi-stage procedure the opportunity to manage a research group both at the university and at DLR for five years and gather extensive teaching experience at the same time.
Mobility is, in and of itself, an essential requirement for the positive development of the German economy. Furthermore, transport industry companies, which in addition to large automobile and rail vehicle manufacturers and systems vendors also include a multitude of small and medium-sized businesses, represent an important economic component that creates considerable added value.
All German automobile manufacturers have large in-house research and development departments. DLR maintains close ties with these departments, which are manifested in a large number of cooperative ventures and projects with both systems vendors and suppliers. The German railway industry is also characterised by medium-sized suppliers and global companies whose portfolios range from rail vehicles to turnkey rail systems. DLR works closely with these companies as well as with the leading railway operators. In the fields of road and rail traffic management and airport management DLR also cooperates with leading manufacturers and providers.
DLR endeavours to expand the extent and intensity of its relations with industrial companies through strategic agreements. This also includes appointing industry representatives to the supervisory boards of DLR and to institute and project advisory boards and involving them in external evaluations. When developments approach marketability, DLR promotes spin-offs founded by employees or commercially utilises patents and licenses by selling them to existing companies. Through these activities additional jobs in the high-technology sector are created.
Technology Platforms and Associations
Technology platforms and associations are representatives of the interests of their members. At the same time, they offer important professional and strategic discussion forums, multifaceted contact areas and high-quality information exchanges. DLR is therefore actively involved in relevant organisations at national and European level, a few of which are introduced in the following paragraphs.
The German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) is the voice of engineering and technology both in Germany and abroad. DLR provides the speaker for the Mobility topic network for acatech. The German Transport Research Association (DVWG) is an independent platform for knowledge and experience transfer between theory and practice of transport development. As a member of the board, DLR is involved in shaping the work of the Rhineland branch of the Association. The German Transport Forum (DVF), an association of more than 160 German and European companies, promotes initiatives, ideas and impulses to improve transport conditions in Germany and Europe. DLR is represented in a number of DVF steering committees.
The European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI) is an association of 20 leading transport research facilities in Europe. DLR is a co-initiator and founding member of ECTRI. Currently it holds the position of Secretary General and represents the ECTRI thematic working groups Mobility, Freight Transport and Energy and Climate Change. In addition, DLR provides the national representative for rail transport research to the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC). The Transport Business Area also contributes to shaping the policy of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC). Furthermore, DLR is a partner of ERTICO. This coalition of more than 100 partners from trade and industry, science and politics promotes and supports the implementation of intelligent transport systems and services across Europe.
Last modified:21/04/2011 15:03:05