A British Telecom-backed team of UK and Indian scientists and engineers will head a £9.2-million research project to develop 'Next Generation Networks', vital to pushing forward the digital economy.
This collaboration between the Indian and UK governments, universities and ICT specialists in both countries will work to develop Next Generation telecom networks, ICT services and applications in the two countries, along with work on wireless sensor networks, which could aid healthcare and early warning weather systems in rural areas.
Funding will be used by the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC) to drive collaborative research and the sharing of new communications technology between India and the UK.
The research will be conducted into Next Generation network enabled applications and services, converged network protocols and systems and wireless communications and mobility. The research is designed to underpin the development of policies and initiatives for both rural and urban Digital Economy programmes in India and the UK.
The wider IU-ATC consortium currently comprises nine UK universities, six Indian research institutes, seven industry partners in both countries including BT, InfoSys, Wipro, Sasken, Tejas and Midas and a number of small business partners.
The grant money includes £5 million jointly from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Programme, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Indian government's Department of Science and Technology (DST). This is matched by a further contribution of over £4 million from a consortium of the IU-ATC academic and industrial partners.
The funding bid was led by Professor Gerard Parr at the University of Ulster in Coleraine and Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, together with Professor Nader Azarmi of BT.
Prof Parr said, ''This funding will support an exciting research and innovation programme for the IU-ATC in Next Generation Networks, Systems and Services which will give a massive boost to the digital economy of both countries.''
Chief executive of BT Innovate and BT Group Chief Technology Officer, Matt Bross, added, ''These next generation networks form the future foundations of the digital economy and research in this area is crucial. The IU-ATC will allow us to explore novel solutions and provide research, innovation and wealth creation opportunities between the UK and India that are of benefit to citizens, business, government and industry.''
The Research Councils UK (RCUK) Office in India and the Department of Science and Technology has worked closely together to create a joint UK-India funding mechanism to review this proposal.
Dr. Alicia Greated, director of the RCUK Office in India stated, ''We are extremely pleased that this initiative has been funded as it is an excellent example of India-UK research collaborations being developed across both the private and public sectors.''
The Indian academic and industrial members are:
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (academic lead: Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala)
Infosys Technologies Ltd (industry lead: Subu Goparaju)
- Wipro Technologies,
- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
- Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
- Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
- Indian Institute of IT, Bangalore
- Sasken Communications
- Tejas Networks
- Midas Communications Technologies
- Tata Consultancy Services Ltd
- Centre of Excellence In Wireless Technology
- NMSWorks Software Ltd