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£9M to help research digital revolution

UK and Indian governments, scientists and industrial engineers are embarking on a £9m ‘Next Generation Networks’ project to bring online education, healthcare and early warning weather/natural disaster systems to remote areas in both countries.

Part-funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Programme and led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the five-year collaboration will establish a virtual research centre to look for solutions from emerging and existing technologies

Technology such as wireless sensor networks could be used to deliver healthcare where resources are limited and automatically deliver real time data in areas such as pollution and seismic activity.

The project will also examine how existing IT infrastructure like copper cable networks can perform better, how to best set up new optical infrastructure and implement UK broadband technology across India.

John Hand, EPSRC Head of Digital Economy said: “Next generation networks will be the new building blocks of the future digital economy. Both UK and India are looking to the future, to develop economies based around skilled, high value industries. This also offers a great opportunity for UK business in what is still a growing market.”

The project grant comprises £2.5m from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Programme, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and funded by the UK Government through DIUS (UK Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills). This has been matched by £2.5m from Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST). A further £4m is being provided by a consortium of academic and industrial partners.

Professor Gerard Parr from the University of Ulster is the lead UK academic on the project and BT is the lead UK company. India has an estimated 50m internet users, with 3.3m in rural areas.

Matt Thompson | alfa
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