As of June 2023, the IET assumed the rotating roles of chair and secretariat for the Railway Engineers Forum, or REF as it is known within the member Institutions.
Founded 10 years ago, the REF includes representation from those professional institutions with an interest in promoting engineering best practice in the railway industry. The original aim of the REF was to harmonise the activities of the constituent Institutions, enabling them to devise and implement programmes of activities that would support the railway community, regardless of their professional affiliation. This role would encompass cross-promotion of conferences, seminars, lectures, training, information services, publications and statements of policy to Government and other Regulatory Bodies. Essentially, the REF would provide a single point of contact allowing professionals in the industry to find details of relevant events hosted by each of the member institutions.
The way we manage our professional lives has changed over the last decade, and as we embark on our two-year role as the chair of the REF, the IET Railway Technical Network is looking to revisit the mission of the REF, and redefine what we do.
So, for those in the Railway arena, what role can the REF carve for itself from here on? What do you think can be done to add greater practical value to the REF in a modern industrial setting and, ultimately, how can it best benefit its members and the rail industry as a whole? How can REF make best use of its unique assets (the facilities of the member institutions and their combined expert membership) to where should we position the REF to create relevance within the industry?