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Creating the next generation of leaders for the communications industry

Press release issued: 30 March 2011

A new research centre in communications, the first of its kind in the UK, will be officially launched at the University of Bristol today[Wednesday 30 March]. The new Centre will provide major benefits to the country’s economy and will be key in educating the scientists and engineers needed for Britain’s future.

The new University of Bristol Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications will be officially launched today [Wednesday 30 March].  The CDT won funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the new £10 million research centre in Communications Engineering.

Communications technology not only provides personal voice and data services but it also underpins the aerospace, medical, defence and security industries.  The UK is a leader in these fields and there is a growing demand for high quality communications researchers and engineers who can create future innovative products and services here in the UK.

With the support of 25 major UK companies and trade organisations, the new CDT will help to build UK capability in this key area, addressing the skills shortage in the industry. It will focus on ‘future communications: people, power and performance’.   While communications technology is the enabler, the new centre recognises that it is people who are the creators, consumers and beneficiaries in terms of its broader applications.

Joe McGeehan, Professor of Communications Engineering, who has pioneered many of the technologies for the next generation of mobile phones and is behind the wireless revolution, said: “The new Centre will provide major benefits to the UK’s economy, its knowledge base and its society. Our partnership with industry has been critical in shaping and winning this centre and will continue to be so in its delivery phase.

“As well as producing innovative solutions to key emerging research challenges, the Centre will provide an advanced training network for the communications community nationally, and develop the skilled and entrepreneurial engineers needed to underpin the future of the industry.”

The University through its Centre for Communications Research (CCR), headed by Professor McGeehan, has been a world leader in this field for two decades. The new Centre will combine the strengths of the CCR with Bristol’s world leading mathematics capability, its strengths in interactivity and the challenges in safety critical systems.

The communications sector is fundamental to telecommunications, broadcasting and ICT, underpinning the RCUK Digital Economy research priority.

The Bristol team was selected over nine other leading UK universities to win this prestigious centre.  With its first intake in 2011, the CDT will host 50 new PhD students over five intake cycles.


Further information

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is investing £2.2 million in the new University of Bristol Centre for Doctorial Training (CDT) in Communications. £1.8 million has come from industry and £6 million from the University of Bristol.

The University of Bristol team include academics from the University’s Centre for Communications Research; Department of Mathematics; Department of Computer Science and the Safety Systems Research Centre.

The CDT senior management team will be chaired by Professor Joe McGeehan with Professor David Bull (CDT Director), Professor Mark Beach (CDT Manager) and Dr Oliver Johnson (key interface with mathematics).

The Centre for Communications Research (CCR) is an internationally recognised interdisciplinary research centre. It was established in 1987 as one of the first University Research Centres and its template for structure and operation across departmental and faculty boundaries have been adopted across the world by other leading research universities. It is associated with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

The Department of Mathematics is one of the three largest departments of the Faculty of Science, with almost 50 full-time faculty members. All of the academic staff in the Department, one of the strongest mathematics departments in Europe in terms of research, is active in research, which is divided into three groups — Applied, Pure Mathematics and Statistics. Members of the Department interact with colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines ranging from physics, to social sciences, to biology, to medicine.

The Department of Computer Science is an international centre of excellence in the foundations and applications of computing. Staff in the department carry out internationally leading research in Intelligent Systems, Digital Media, Foundations, Personal Systems, and Architecture and Design. Computer science - and its application across all sciences, computational science - is currently revolutionising a wide range of human activities, but is also itself undergoing revolutionary change. The department's mission is to anticipate and drive these developments in the aforementioned areas.

The Safety Systems Research Centre (SSRC) was established in 1995. It conducts research into the challenges of safe and reliable design, operation and maintenance of computer-based systems. The SSRC has a broad appreciation of safety issues across various industry sectors such as nuclear, marine and aviation industries.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £850m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via research Councils UK.

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