The University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is part of national initiative aiming at advancing the communications technologies of tomorrow

Published: 16 March 2023

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is part of a consortium of universities involved with developing the ‘communications technologies of tomorrow.’ Future communication systems such as 6G, faster internet access and cloud computing will be boosted by a £6m investment by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The grant will put in place three Platforms that will encourage innovations in communications systems, whilst connecting the wider academic, business and international communities.

Jane Nicholson, EPSRC’s Director for Research Base, has said: “Digital communications infrastructure underpins the UK’s economy of today and tomorrow and these projects will help support the jobs and industry of the future. Everybody relies on secure and swift networking and EPSRC is committed to backing the research which will advance these technologies.”

The ORC will be participating in two of the three Platforms attached to this grant: TITAN and a new Hub on All Spectrum Connectivity.

The TITAN project, which has received £2M from the funding call, aims to establish a platform for research collaboration and engagement across academic, industrial and governmental partners and conduct transformative research on the interfaces of classic communication network elements to achieve the seamless, open and fully integrated network of networks. The project will be led by Professor Harald Haas from the University of Strathclyde who is working with 16 other universities, including the University of Southampton. The project is also supported by four associate partners: the Digital Catapult, the Bristol Digital Futures Institute, the Compound Semiconductor Centre and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics.

The Future Communications Hub on All Spectrum Connectivity, led by Professor Dominic O'Brien at the University of Oxford brings together eight teams from the Universities of Belfast, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Southampton, Strathclyde, Imperial College and University College London. As the volume of global internet usage continues to rise, the Hub will address critical challenges in providing high-speed, low-latency access to internet services for future fixed and mobile users. In particular, the Hub will research how to integrate separate fibre (wired) and wireless internet access systems into a single resource in order to deliver intelligent ‘all-spectrum’ connectivity which can adapt to meet the current and future demands of users.

In response to the award, Periklis Petropoulos, Principal Investigator for the ORC of both grants has said: “The creation of these new platforms reflects the importance of collaborative research, and we are thrilled to be contributing to the TITAN and All-Spectrum Connectivity projects, which closely match our research interests. This is a great opportunity to initiate ground-breaking research that will shape the future of communication systems.”

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