BT is leading a consortium it hopes will drive collaborative research between the United Kingdom 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-U.K. Advanced Technology Center (IU-ATC). With US$3 million in funding already secured, the IU-ATC will see Ph.D. and post-doctorate students from the U.K. and India studying in each others' countries and working on a next-generation network 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 U.K. universities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Lancaster, Queen Mary, Southampton, St Andrews, Surrey, University College London and Ulster.
The Indian side of the collaboration will involve the technology institutes of Delhi, Madras and Mumbai, the Institute of Science in Bangalore and companies including BT India, Infosys, Midas Communications, NMSWorks Software, Sasken Communications, Tejas Networks and Wipro.
BT's group chief technology officer, Matt Bross, said: "The IU-ATC will accelerate competitive technology and knowledge transfer between the U.K. and India, as well as ensuring stronger collaborations between industry and academic institutions in both countries."
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 U.K. 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".
Parr said: "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 organizations and the British and Indian governments."