UK-India collaborations announced during Foreign Secretary visit

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Two UK-India collaborations have been announced to boost 5G networks and future generations of telecoms.

The two UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded projects, announced as part of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s visit to India, are:

  • the UK-India Future Networks Initiative (UKI-FNI), a £1.4 million project led by the University of East Anglia in collaboration with other UK and Indian universities. The project will build the capability, capacity, and relationships between the two countries in telecoms diversification technologies and research for 5G and beyond
  • a £180,000 grant to the Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult to explore opportunities for further UK-India collaboration on the needs of future telecoms networks.

Research and innovation partnership

The projects announced are part of a wider UKRI collaboration with DST as together they explore a new India-UK research and innovation partnership in the area of future telecom networks.

UKI-FNI will build capability, capacity, and relationships between the two countries in telecom diversification technologies, building on previous collaboration in this area.

Funded by UKRI India and UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), it will also develop a joint Indo-UK roadmap and research strategy for 5G and beyond.

Future telecom networks

CSA Catapult is supported by UKRI’s Innovate UK. Through the funding announced today, CSA Catapult will explore opportunities for companies and universities to collaborate on UK-India joint research and innovation projects to meet the requirements for future telecom networks.

Five technology streams will be explored to address the dual challenges of cost-effective, secure digital access while reducing energy usage across the network.

UK Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure Julia Lopez said:

I am delighted that the UK and India are joining forces to look at how we can create more diverse, innovative and secure telecoms supply chains.

This forward-looking partnership will bring together our nations’ finest minds to reduce the world’s over-reliance on a small number of firms to build and maintain the networks that are so vital to society and the global economy.

New research opportunities

Sanjeev K Varshney, Head of International Cooperation at the DST, said:

The announcement of the India-UK partnership to develop newer research opportunities in future telecom networks is very timely and we look forward to developing new bilateral collaboration in this and other emerging areas of mutual interest.

Rebecca Fairbairn, Director UKRI India, said:

UKRI India, in collaboration with our partner funders in India, is delighted to announce a drive towards a new Indo-UK research and innovation partnership on future telecom networks.

Bringing together both our countries’ scientists, engineers, and innovators we will jointly develop new knowledge and high-impact research and innovation in line with our shared 2030 India-UK roadmap.

Developing a roadmap

Professor Gerard Parr, Principal Investigator for UKI-FNI, University of East Anglia, said:

There are many benefits to be accrued from the UKI-FNI project as we explore new innovative solutions in hardware, software and protocols.

Ultimately, we will develop a roadmap for a much larger, mutually beneficial and longer-term collaboration between India and the UK in the important digital telecoms sector.

Dr Andy G Sellars, Strategic Development Director, CSA Catapult, said:

From a standing start in 2018, the Catapult has initiated over £140 million of projects developing advanced electronics to power next generation electric vehicles as part of our net zero commitment.

We see a bigger opportunity to develop advanced electronic systems for future telecom networks working with industrial and academic partners in India.

Diverse collaborations

UKRI and India have co-invested:

  • more than £330 million in joint programmes
  • £450 million in further funding from public, non-profit and industry partners.

This is outlined in the UK-India: partnerships for growth with research and innovation report.

The report sets out how UKRI India has facilitated a diverse portfolio of research and innovation collaboration covering:

  • climate
  • energy
  • environment
  • health
  • societies and culture
  • technology-driven innovation.

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