Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering are among the founding partners of a new £12m telecommunications project.
Professor Muhammad Imran is leading the University’s contribution to the UK Government-funded Towards Ubiquitous 3D Open Resilient Network (TUDOR) initiative.
TUDOR, which is led by a team based at the University of Surrey’s 5/6G Innovation Centre, is setting out to ensure that the future of the UK’s telecommunication network is secure, caters to all of society, boosts the economy and is highly energy efficient.
The project will will research and develop technologies that could be used in a more open, flexible and scalable future mobile network beyond 5G and 6G.
The TUDOR team will also focus on how new technologies could be used to enhance telecommunications infrastructure as 5G matures as well as understand how emerging intellectual property could contribute to global standards and skills generation in the UK. Crucially, TUDOR will help design and promote a more diverse telecoms market.
Professor Imran is head of the University of Glasgow’s Autonomous Systems and Connectivity research division and the Communications, Sensing and Imaging research hub, which finds new applications for advanced telecommunications in areas including wireless networks, healthcare and artificial intelligence.
The University of Glasgow is home to an urban 5G testbed for the communication solutions required for sustainable, attractive and resilient cities.
He said: “I’m pleased to be lending support to the TUDOR project, which brings together a wide range of researchers from academia and industry. 5G and 6G technologies have the potential to bring transformative benefits to all areas of society, and TUDOR is set to help overcome many of the barriers to widespread uptake, as well as make systems that are more environmentally-friendly.
“I’m looking forward to collaborating on the project in the years to come.”
Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director of the 5G/6G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, said: “I would like to thank the government for launching this programme, and we are looking forward to working with our strong international TUDOR team to ensure the award-winning Surrey 5G Innovation Centre continues to add to the multiple contributions we’ve already made to telecommunications innovation and technologies.
“I am confident that this project will help ensure that the UK’s critical telecommunications infrastructure keeps up with the blistering pace of innovation that is happening across the globe and that the societal benefits of faster and more reliable communications are delivered in the most sustainable way possible.”
TUDOR is part of the UK government’s strategy to reduce the UK’s resilience on a small number of suppliers to build and maintain telecoms networks. Surrey’s £12m funding is part of a £28m pot shared across three UK Universities, with the investment dedicated to bolstering the UK’s status as a global leader in telecoms research and development.
Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “The technology powering our phone and internet networks is evolving rapidly, and with 6G on the horizon, we must stay ahead of the curve.
“This huge investment will see top universities join forces with industry to build, test and roll out the nuts and bolts underpinning new networks while ensuring our plan for a more diverse and innovative telecoms market is sustained in the future.
“The funding will also turbocharge our work to strengthen telecoms supply chains, so we are no longer reliant on a handful of companies to develop and maintain our 5G networks.”
Kirsty Bright, Director of Innovation Strategy & Transformation at Virgin Media O2, commented: “We are pleased to be part of the TUDOR consortium for the DCMS Future Open 3D Networks Research Challenge (FORNC). This exciting programme will support the design requirements of 6G via a self-evolved 3D network architecture, focusing on carrier-grade security, resilience, energy-efficiency and improved indoor coverage. We look forward to working with the rest of the consortium members to support industry and academia in developing future-facing open and interoperable solutions to diversify the UK’s mobile network supply chain.”
Maria Cuevas, Networks Research Director from BT, said: “We are very excited to participate in this Research collaboration, which involves great partners from different parts of the UK telecoms research and innovation ecosystem. We continue to proactively support the development of open solutions to telecoms networks and a gradual evolution forward from 5G technologies.”
Magnus Frodigh, VP & Head of Ericsson Research, says: “Ericsson is looking forward to working in close partnership with the winners of the Future Open Networks Research Challenge in the UK. Through this government funded program and our own recently announced multi-million pound 6G research investment, the country is ready to begin the journey of developing future network technologies, architectures, and global standards as well as leading the way to an efficient and sustainable society powered by limitless connectivity for a cyber-physical continuum.”
The TUDOR consortium includes leading national and international organisations: AWS (Amazon Web Service), AWTG, BAE (BAE Systems), BT (British Telecom), Ericsson, ETSI, IDE (InterDigital Europe), Mavenir, Nokia, NPL (National Physical Laboratory) OW (OneWeb), SatApps (Satellite Application Catapult), Tactical Wireless, Toshiba, Viavi (Viavi Solutions), VMO2 (VirginMedia O2), Imperial College London, KCL King’s College London, Lancaster University, Queen’s University Belfast, Strathclyde University, University College London, University of Glasgow, AMD Fujitsu, MTC, NetRail, and Qualcomm.