The University of Southampton

ECS Comms group part of India-UK research initiative

Published: 4 September 2008

The ECS Communications group is part of an exciting new initiative which will increase joint research and research training between the UK and India.

The India-UK Virtual Graduate Research School (VGRS) will drive collaborative programmes in fundamental research, and support research training and technology transfer between the two countries. The VGRS is a major component of the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC) of Excellence in Next Generation Networks Systems and Services, set up in 2007 as part of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative.

The IU-ATC comprises a consortium of 22 major India-UK industry and academic partners, led by the University of Ulster, IIT Madras, and BT. The Virtual Graduate Research School will support the mobility of collaborative PhD and postdoctoral projects and a programme of exchange visits within the consortium. Funding of over $3 million will provide opportunities for 23 PhD scholarships and 16 industrial internship positions between the consortium partners in both countries over the next four years.

The ECS Comms group is one of the academic partners, representing the University of Southampton, along with the universities of Ulster, Queen Mary College, London, Surrey, Bristol, UCL, IIT Madras, IIT Mumbai, IIT Delhi and IISc Bangalore, which have provided additional financial support for PhD scholarships.

The project has also attracted financial support from key industry partners in both countries, including BT, InfoSys, Wipro and Sasken. BT's support is particularly significant as it provides full PhD scholarships and industrial internships for project partners.

The IU-ATC's UK academic lead, Professor Gerard Parr from the University of Ulster, said: ‘The IU-ATC has been set up to establish, for the first time, the support infrastructure and creative sponsorship opportunities that will enable successful collaboration between academic institutions, government and industry in Britain and India.

‘The long-term success of this large-scale initiative is dependent upon support received from key stakeholders, and we have had excellent engagement and support from BT, Indian organisations and the British and Indian governments. The funding we have received from the UKIERI-DST Award is very important as it provides our VGRS with the ability to function and provide real knowledge, mobility and research training for graduates to visit and work in both countries. It also provides us with a mandate to further develop our plans.’

Funding will be available to support PhD research training projects and exchange of consortium postgraduate and post-doctorate research scientists in areas of relevance to the IU-ATC work plan agenda. These include resilient communications infrastructures, embedded energy-aware low-cost devices, pervasive sensors, real-time network data analytics for fixed-wireless broadband, end-to-end network security protocols, cross layer protocols for real-time interoperability, smart antenna design for NG mobile wireless communications and advanced networked ICT services and systems.

‘We look forward to engaging the best intellectuals of the vast sub-continent of India in a mutually beneficial research endeavour’, said Professor Lajos Hanzo, who leads the initiative in ECS.

‘A million new mobile subscribers sign up in India every month and mobile communications is substantially contributing towards wealth-creation. We are preparing joint research proposals in the interest of augmenting our activities with the aid of further research funds.’

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