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Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre is key part of delegation driving forward Government's UK/India Future Telecom Programme

Published: 9 June 2022
ORC Director Professor Sir David Payne and Professor Jayanta Sahu key part of delegation driving forward Government’s UK/India Future Telecom Programme

Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre is key part of delegation driving forward Government’s UK/India Future Telecom Programme

Southampton’s world-renowned telecommunications research from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) formed a key part of a prestigious UK delegation that recently visited India as part of the government’s UK/India Future Telecom Programme.

ORC Director Professor Sir David Payne and Professor Jayanta Sahu, Head of Southampton’s Silica Fibre Fabrication Group, joined other distinguished representatives from academia and industry on the trip that aimed to establish potential collaborations to deliver transformational changes in future telecommunications networks. The delegation represented the UK innovation chain in telecommunications from fundamental research to industry and emphasised the shared commitment to an enhanced partnership in science, tech, education, research and innovation.

The UK/India Future Telecom Programme was launched by the UK’s Foreign Office, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Head of International Cooperation at India’s Department for Science and Technology. It builds on the India-UK roadmap, the Memorandum of Understanding between India’s Department of Telecommunications and DCMS, and the Free Trade Agreement.

The visit to New Delhi and Bangalore was led by the CSA Catapult and delegates discussed the Future Telecom Programme with Government, industry and academia. They demonstrated the value of the UK’s innovation ecosystem, and its ability to work collectively to translate disruptive technologies and innovation into commercial products and services.

Sir David said: “The purpose of the trip was to create closer links with India and to see what joint opportunities there are for areas including business, security, telecoms and healthcare, all of which are underway at the ORC. Jayanta and I were representing the early stage of the innovation chain and sharing the disruptive work that we carry out here at the ORC.

“We are world-renowned for our optical fibre telecommunications research. We are developing improved amplifiers, better fibres, hollow-core fibres and silicon photonics integration, all of which are part of the future for telecommunications.

“We have the disruptive technologies that will vastly improve global telecommunications capacity and speed and are looking for partnerships that will enable our technology to be turned into products in a more efficient and effective way, potentially being manufactured in India.”

“For us, the visit was a pathfinding mission to meet with likeminded companies and universities in India to develop closer collaborations and identify joint projects.

“We can learn from India as well as them learning from us. They have a vast country that includes large urban conurbations, as well as villages that have very little connectivity. India has been rolling out a national fibre and wireless infrastructure to the entire population and has come up with some unique solutions.”

Members of the National Physical Laboratory and Innovate UK were also part of the delegation. A reciprocal visit to the UK is planned from India later this month, which will include a visit to the ORC as part of the itinerary.

Dr Andy Sellars Strategic Director at the CSA Catapult said: “Our delegation to India highlighted significant opportunities for collaboration in telecoms between India and the UK, with the potential to address a global market.

“We showcased the UK’s exceptional innovation ecosystem, from the disruptive technologies being developed by the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) to the industrial scale-up provided by the Catapult Network.

“We were extremely impressed with India’s world-leading academic research coupled with industrial design and manufacturing.

“We now look forward to welcoming a delegation from India to the UK comprising academics, industry experts and government officials, to build a programme with tangible economic and societal benefits.”



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