Collaboration Research

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. Collaboration 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.

Scope of TII Research

TII staff members who have a need for research contribute by identifying the key priority areas of research. They assist in developing research topics for inclusion in the annual research programme and act as technical advisors for the research projects commissioned. They are also responsible for the implementation of the conclusions and outputs of the research.

Research commissioned by TII

As TII does not have any in-house research capability, it commissions its research from external research providers using an open competitive call for proposals in line with TII’s procurement policies. The research projects commissioned by TII mainly fall into three types:
  • Academic Research

TII commissions this type of research as Research Fellowship projects at Doctoral and Post-Doctoral level. It is publicised as the TII Fellowship Programme and its focus is to enable universities and institutes to apply for financial support for PhD and post-doctoral programmes covering subjects that are relevant to the aims of TII. The Call for Proposals is specific to research topics identified by TII, although other topics submitted maybe considered. PhD programmes are normally 3/4 years while post-doctoral programmes can be one to three years in duration. 

  • Commercial Research
TII commissions this type of research as shorter-term research projects in response to specific TII business requirements. The projects are commissioned either as part of an annual TII Call for proposals or on an ad-hoc basis throughout the year in response to immediate business requirements. These projects have shorter timelines than academic research and focus on providing solutions to specific problem facing TII staff.
  • Collaborative Research
TII collaborates with a number of national and European organisations to procure jointly-funded research projects. In some cases, TII staff are directly involved in specifying the research requirement – an example of this is the CEDR Transnational Research Programme described in the next section. In other cases, TII simply acts as an industry partner, providing information and/or technical advice and/or funding for a project of interest. Considerable benefit is gained from collaborative research as 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 high quality research and leading-edge science and technology. Collaborative research is encouraged as it presents much greater value for money by pooling resources and avoiding duplication. 

CEDR Transnational Research Programme

The Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR) has developed a research strategy to promote collaboration between its members to meet their operational needs in running a safe, efficient and sustainable road network. A key element of this strategy is the CEDR Transnational Research Programme (TRP) which operates through a series of annual research calls on topics that address the needs of European road authorities. TII has been heavily involved in the development of the TRP procedures since 2008 when the first programme was launched.
The aim of the TRP is to procure high quality research and provide outputs that all CEDR members can implement to contribute to a safe, sustainable and efficient road network across Europe. CEDR members fund the CEDR TRP on a voluntary basis. Each research programme typically has a 4-year timescale. The overall aims of the TRP are:
  • To assist CEDR members in their problems and challenges
  • To provide advice on research issues at the request of the NRAs
  • To promote collaborative programming and transnational financing and procurement of road research between CEDR member countries
  • To promote dissemination of results from the TRP and other research programmes.
TII has participated as a funder in 18 of the 29 programmes organised to date and has served as programme manager for the 13 programmes organised in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
More information on the TRP and the research programme carried out to date can be found here.

Implementation of research

Implementation of the research outputs is a key element of the TII Research Programme and is the main indicator used to measure the success of a research project. To ensuring that the research outputs can be implemented, a well-defined project specification with a clear description of the expected project deliverables is required. All research proposal are expected to include an implementation plan to indicate how the results can be used by TII.
1.1.1. TII Pilots and Trials system
TII has developed a Pilots and Trials system to provide a mechanism for proposing, initiating and monitoring innovative materials, products or processes on its networks. The system provides a formalised approach to obtaining approval for carrying out a pilot or trial and a structured way for the monitoring and recording of the results to maximise learning outcomes. The outcomes of a pilot or trial are used to inform the development of new or revised standards, specifications or technical guidance. The system can be used to provide documentary evidence to facilitate approval of products or processes where CE marking does not apply. A guideline document RE-PTP-07003 outlines the processes for the management of Pilots and Trials projects using a dedicated website developed by TII.
1.1.2. Technology Readiness Levels
TII is developing a series of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) as a tool to assist in the deployment of innovation on its transport networks. TRLs are a systematic metric to support the assessment of the maturity of a particular technology in advance of deployment. TRLs are used by TII as a mechanism for:
  • Ensuring transparency in the deployment of innovations; 
  • Ensuring efficiency by streamlining market engagement; and 
  • Identifying and managing the risk to TII in deploying innovative technologies on its networks.
The TRL system and the framework for its use is currently being developed as part of an overall innovation strategy for TII: the associated documents are due to be published by the end of 2019.


Effective engagement and collaboration with all stakeholders is recognised in the TII Corporate Strategy as a means of achieving its corporate objectives. Methods of collaboration within TII include:
  • Contact with National bodies in Ireland such as SFI (Science Foundation Ireland), IRC (Irish Research Council), RSA (Road Safety Authority) and NSAI (National standards Association of Ireland);
  • Involvement in European working groups and committees such as CEDR (Conference of European Directors of Roads), FEHRL (Federation of European National Highway Research Laboratories), ERTRAC (European Road Transport Research Advisory Council) and PIARC (World Road Association);
  • Participation in EU funded research (eg, Horizon2020).
  • Participation in jointly funded research projects such as the CEDR Transnational Research Programme.
TII keeps close contact with these organisations and maintains corporate membership of a number of them, including CEDR, FEHRL, ERTRAC and PIARC, to ensure that it is aware of international developments in road transport and of the opportunities for participating in collaboration research projects. A network of contacts at both national and international level is maintained to ensure that TII is aware of the opportunities provided by such collaboration projects. 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.