My first two years as President of FEHRL have gone by surprisingly quickly. I am happy to say that we have gone quite a way in achieving the objectives set in April 2010. My first priority was to strengthen FEHRL as a healthy organisation. I feel that we have taken some very strong steps in that respect and I am confident that under the current FEHRL Executive Committee (FEC), the increasing financial robustness of the organisation will continue.
Secondly, I set out to strengthen the relationship between members to attain greater quality of research and efficiency in raising and spending research funds. I do not believe that we could have progressed so far with Forever Open Road if this was not the case. The most notable successes here are with the cooperative agreement with our US member FHWA and the development of the new Infravation Era-Net Plus action. The number of applications for membership to FEHRL has also increased, and new FEHRL groups are being formed in the countries of our existing members, the most recent being in Norway.
My third priority was to establish closer contacts with CEDR and ERTRAC and strengthen cooperation with other European and non-European research organisations. Those of you at TRA2012 in Athens will have seen the tangible evidence of the close relationship between FEHRL and CEDR. Since I will take up the Chairmanship of CEDR’s Executive Board next year, that relationship will only get stronger. In many respects, the relationship with ERTRAC's key members has also strengthened. This has largely been through their growing recognition of the strength of FEHRL. ERTRAC is a multi-stakeholder body in which our position as the main infrastructure research body is now confirmed.
Finally, my fourth priority was to strengthen the position of FEHRL as the leading research organisation in the field of transport infrastructure, playing a major role in future research projects. I am confident that we are now THE leading research organisation for transport infrastructure research. Our role as the leader of the new inter-Technology platform task force on infrastructure research for Horizon 2020 reaffirms this and creates the strongest possible foundation for our FOR x 4 (Forever Open Road, Railway, Runway and River) programme. More news on this exciting new development will follow.
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