Paul Allen, Associate Dean (RIKE) School of Computing and Engineering

Prof, Director of the Institute of Railway Research

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Last updated 20/11/23


After graduating in 1996 with an honours degree in mechanical engineering, Paul joined a consultancy group at Manchester Metropolitan University developing automotive safety systems. In 1998 he embarked upon a PhD programme studying contact mechanics and wheel-rail interaction on a scaled railway roller rig. During this time he became a founder member of the Rail Technology Unit (RTU), a group which specialised in railway vehicle dynamics and wheel rail interaction.

The RTU became a successful and well respected research and enterprise group and in 2012 transferred to the University of Huddersfield to form the new Institute of Railway Research (IRR). Paul joined UoH as the assistant director of the IRR and since joining has helped the group more than triple in size from 9 to 30 staff.

Paul was a member of the bid team which won £4M of Regional Growth Funding to set up the IRR’s new Centre for Innovation in Rail (CIR). The CIR was launched to support the industry and its supply chain in bringing new technologies to the rail sector. The centre’s goal is to reach out to SMEs and other solutions providers to offer specialist engineering services, funding advice and commercialisation opportunities to help realise the full potential of new concepts or product within the rail sector, generate new jobs and develop thre regional supply chain. Meetings its project tragets, the CIR initiative created over 50 new jobs and helped safeguard a further 70. 

Paul led the specification, contractual negotiation and procurement of the IRR’s £2.1M advanced railway rolling contact rig and its £2.4M laboratory/office expansion programmes.

Paul’s enterprise and research activities have led to the initiation of strong university relationships and funding streams with key railway sector partners including HS2, Crossrail, Unipart Rail Ltd and Alstom.

He has achieved wide press exposure for the University with articles/quotes published in the Mail on Sunday, Modern Railways Magazine, Railway Gazette International, The Engineer and the Huddersfield Examiner, together with numerous online sites and has appeared as a railway engineering expert on BBC televsion news and BBC/Discovery Channel documentary productions.

He instigated and led the delivery of an annual residential course for 50 school children on behalf of the Smallpeice Trust and has recently been invited to join the Scientific Committee for the IMechE Railway Division’s annual Stephenson Conference and also deliver the Institute’s annual prestige evening guest lecture.

Paul became Director of the Institute of Railway Research in July 2022 and Associate Dean (RIKE) within the School of Computing and Engineering in January 2023.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Wheel-Rail Contact
  • Computer Modelling of Railway Vehicle Suspensions
  • Remote Condition Monitoring
  • Data Analysis
  • Train Braking System Optimisation
  • Railway Vehicle Pantograph Interaction Dynamics


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