Hot on the heels of the Innovation Conference: Unlocking Innovation series on Whole System innovation announced

30 April 2021

Following ‘hot on the heels’ of its Innovation Conference, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) has announced the agenda and speakers for the next Unlocking Innovation events on Developing Whole Systems in the Digital Age.

From Monday 10 to Friday 14 May 2021, the five-day event series will be the first time the Unlocking Innovation programme has looked at the topic of whole systems innovation and automation of design and testing.

The events, which will be held in partnership with RIA’s strategic partners Network Rail and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), have a stellar line-up of industry leaders in whole systems thinking and will showcase some of best examples from projects in the UK.

Attendees will also be able join an interactive workshop on how to develop good requirements with RIA Members WSP, and dedicated networking sessions with colleagues after each day’s event.


Confirmed speakers for the events include:

  • Dyan Crowther, Chief Executive, HS1;
  • Jay Newton, Head of Stations Engineering and Operation, and Peter Turrell, Head Of Asset Management, HS1;
  • Andrew Simmons, Head of Systems Authority for Digital Railway, Network Rail;
  • Derek Price, Technical Head of System Integration, Network Rail;
  • Nassar Majothi, Head of Systems Integration, HS2;
  • Greg Kotecha, Head of Engineering, South Western Railway (SWR); and
  • And many more from NCATI, Atkins, UKRRIN, WSP amongst others.

Launching the programme, Railway Industry Association (RIA) Innovation Manager Karl King, said: “This week our RIA Innovation Conference saw nearly 400 attendees explore the key issues facing the industry, as we look to build ‘the railway of the future’. But for those wanting even more discussions and networking, do not worry, we will be back with our industry-leading Unlocking Innovation programme on 10 May.

“Whole systems thinking is an issue vital for the delivery of rail schemes of all sizes, but particularly major projects. In an exciting first for RIA, our next Unlocking Innovation series will look to address this very issue with an introduction to what a whole systems approach might look like, how to involve the supply chain and how to deliver on major projects. The weeks' events will take participants through the project life cycle from establishing the problem to be solved to developing and testing the solution through to assurance.

“We are delighted to be welcoming key clients such as Network Rail, HS1, HS2 and operators including SWR, as well as hearing some innovative examples from the rail supply chain of how they are supporting the sector with systems engineering best practice. We hope to see you there!”

Journalists are welcome to register, either via the link, or by emailing

Notes to Editors


  1. About the Unlocking Innovation Programme: RIA’s highly regarded Unlocking Innovation events bring together the people with ideas and ambition to drive change within the rail industry. The events create a platform for large and small companies, academics and innovators with the aim of developing productivities that will drive invention in the industry. Unlocking Innovation events also aim to create new supply chains, to build value and benefit the UK economy, rail suppliers and ultimately the customers, the rail users. Find out more here
  2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.
  3. About the Network Rail R&D Programme: Network Rail have made an investment £350m into the R&D portfolio in a bid to enhance invention and creativity in products, systems and equipment that will develop the industry and ultimately benefit rail users.
  4. About UKRRIN: Formed in 2017, the UK Rail Research & Innovation Network (UKRRIN) brings the leading Universities in Rail with the industry to collaborate on ideas and drive aspiration and innovation. RIA is a founding member. 

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