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UK and India to establish virtual R&D school

BT is leading an Anglo-Indian consortium that aims to develop and patent new fixed and wireless networking technologies
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

BT is leading a consortium that it hopes will drive collaborative research between the UK and India, with a strong focus on new fixed and wireless networking technologies.

The consortium will set up a virtual graduate research school called the India-UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC). With $3m (£1.46m) in funding already secured, the IU-ATC will see PhD and post-doctorate students from the UK and India studying in each others' countries and working on next-generation network (NGN) and general ICT research. The current funding will cover 23 students, although the split between the countries is yet to be determined.

BT will be joined in the consortium by IT consultancy Intergence Systems, plus 10 UK universities: Cambridge, St Andrews, University College London, Queen Mary, Southampton, Lancaster, Bristol, Ulster, Surrey and Birmingham.

The Indian side of the collaboration will involve the technology institutes of Madras, Delhi and Mumbai, the Institute of Science in Bangalore, and companies including Infosys, BT India, Wipro, Sasken Communications, Midas Communications, Tejas Networks and NMSWorks Software.

"The IU-ATC will accelerate competitive technology and knowledge transfer between the UK and India, as well as ensuring stronger collaborations between industry and academic institutions in both countries," said BT's group chief technology officer, Matt Bross, on Monday.

In a statement, BT said the initiative would involve the development of new services and technologies, the filing of patents and the "commercial exploitation of research through licensing and spinning out start-up companies".

Professor Gerard Parr, the IU-ATC's UK academic lead, said the project sought to "establish, for the first time, the support infrastructure and creative sponsorship opportunities that will enable successful collaboration between Britain and India's academic institutions, government and industry in general".

"The long-term success of this kind of large-scale initiative is dependent upon the support received from industry, and we have had excellent engagement and support from BT, Indian organisations and the British and Indian governments," said Parr.

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