Cambridge University sets up £25m network research group

The university has partnered with BT and Huawei to look at the societal impact of technology

The University of Cambridge, Huawei and BT have developed a networking and communications research programme tasked with conducting research into photonics, digital and access networks, and media technologies.

BT and Huawei will provide the equipment and R&D support to the University of Cambridge, which will also be backed by 25m of funding over the next five years.

"The world of telecommunications has advanced rapidly over the last two decades," professor Stephen Toope, vice chancellor at the University of Cambridge said. "However, there is still work to be done to improve the technologies we use on a daily basis and to ensure that they are long-lived. By working with BT and Huawei we will be able to demonstrate that the insights delivered through our research have a broad impact."

Underlying the main research areas, Cambridge University will research into how communications technologies can be enhanced to have a better impact on a growing society. It will also look into how the industry can become more economically beneficial for businesses by reducing the cost of network infrastructure and boosting operational performance, for example.

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"We believe the best way of ensuring this country remains at the forefront of innovation is by combining the expertise and commercial focus of industry with the fantastic intellectual capital found at our world-leading universities," Gavin Patterson, BT Group chief executive said.

"Working together with Huawei and the University of Cambridge, we will discover the next generation of technologies which promise to deliver huge economic, social and cultural benefits for UK citizens."

The funding will also contribute towards longer-term initiatives by the University of Cambridge, looking into how tech firms can work with researchers to benefit society, such as reducing inequality and help combat climate change in communities.

"Technology is changing the world faster than we have ever seen. It will bring many benefits to mankind, and affect nearly every aspect of our lives," Ken Hu, deputy chairman and rotating CEO at Huawei said.

"No single organisation has all the answers. Partnership is the only way forward in a complex digital age. We look forward to working with BT and the University of Cambridge. Together, we will explore future technologies and help ensure a positive social impact."

The project is expected to start in early 2018 based out of the university's new Maxwell Centre, a research wing set up to improve links between the university and technology companies across the city. 

Image: Bigstock

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