5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey

5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey

In September 2015, the University of Surrey’s £75m 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) officially opened.

The largest European academic research centre dedicated to next generation mobile and wireless communications, it joins academic expertise and industry partners in a shared vision: to define and develop the 5G infrastructure that will underpin the way we live our lives in the future.

This launch was the culmination of close collaboration between Surrey’s Institute for Communication Systems, headed by Professor Rahim Tafazolli, and key industry and governmental partners, the founding members: Aeroflex (Cobham Wireless), AIRCOM International (TEOCO), BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe, Huawei, Ofcom, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone and EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership.

In response to a call from the Higher Education Funding Council, Professor Tafazolli’s team worked with a range of partners to propose a UK 5G research centre delivering global impact.

Industry backing now stands at over £58m, adding to £11.6m from HEFCE and £5m from Enterprise M3 LEP, to engage regional SMEs with the 5GIC programme. The result is a shared vision bringing together global organisations with local companies to ensure 5G will be a universal standard strongly influenced from the UK.

“From its inception collaboration was key to delivering such an ambitious plan,” commented Professor Tafazolli. “Our focus on involving partners from the outset was reflective of the need for global input to ensure the successful implementation of a new communications standard across the world. We now have the support of 23 members and are engaged across multi-national firms, 20 SME’s, government and fellow Universities. We actively welcome innovative ideas from all potential partners.”

Dr Mike Short CBE, Vice President Telefonica UK (O2) and Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, added: “Bringing a wide range of companies from different backgrounds together is no mean feat. The partner representatives on the 5GIC Strategy Advisory Board have developed a shared 5G vision that sets out a long term roadmap for further partners to benefit and lend their expertise in this exciting international market.”

“To see so many players keen to provide their expertise and shared direction is astonishing. From large corporates who continue to drive success, we are now welcoming a host of agile and innovative SMEs. With over 20 SME partners we are entering an exciting phase of development, encompassing areas as diverse as gaming, health and transport.”

“Alongside the contribution and support we have received from government, including the Local Enterprise Partnership, EM3, we have been able to support global and regional growth that works to all parties’ interests.”

Keith Robson, Chief Operating Officer, 5GIC said:

“The organic, collaborative growth of 5GIC’s vision has been a novel aspect of the programme.”
5GIC’s ongoing challenge is to broker global collaboration between industries and academia.

“In order to realise the potential of 5G, we are working to create a new generation of user-centric applications and services, enabled by creative analytics and underpinned by a flexible distributed ICT infrastructure,” comments Dr Adel Rouz of Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe. “This is a fundamentally different approach to previous communications concepts, and requires a collaborative approach, as epitomised by 5GIC. It is helping to redefine how we think about global projects of this scale.”

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