UofG lends support to two major 6G research projects

Published: 27 March 2024

The University of Glasgow is playing key roles in two major UKRI-funded projects which are working to build the 6G communications systems of the future.

The University of Glasgow is playing key roles in two major UKRI-funded projects which are working to build the 6G communications systems of the future.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recently announced £40m in new funding to support the ongoing work of three Future Telecoms Research Hubs – called CHEDDAR, TITAN and HASC – which together will form a new Federated Communications Hub. The funding will also facilitate the creation of a national infrastructure for future telecoms testing and development named JOINER.

Researchers from the University are lending their support to CHEDDAR, led by Imperial College London, and JOINER, led by the University of Bristol.

Last year, the University of Glasgow was among the founding partners of CHEDDAR, the Communications Hub for Empowering Distributed Cloud Computing Applications and Research.

Initially supported by £2m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), CHEDDAR has now received an additional £10.5m to continue its work.

Research at CHEDDAR strives to investigate and design proofs-of-concept of the 6G technologies that will enable interconnection between people and devices at all scales. It is crucial for these technologies to underpin and be reinforced by communications infrastructures that are safe, secure, trustworthy and sustainable.

Next generation technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things, do not operate in isolation but are underpinned by the communications infrastructures that support them.

CHEDDAR aims to better understand the protocols, optimisations and network decision making that will enable the near-instant connection required of a truly digital society.

Research on intelligent connected telecom management and control, dynamic programmability, and integrated sensing and communication are as central, as is the reduction of its energy footprint.

Dame Muffy Calder, Professor of Formal Methods at the University of Glasgow and Head of the College of Science and Engineering, will be part of university team contributing to CHEDDAR alongside Professor Qammer H. Abbasi of the James Watt School of Engineering.  Professor Muhammad Ali Imran of the James Watt School of Engineering is leading the University’s support for CHEDDAR and JOINER.

Professor Dame Muffy said: “I’m pleased to be working on the CHEDDAR project alongside colleagues at the University and institutions across the UK. The University of Glasgow’s deep understanding of the sector and cutting-edge research to develop future comms technologies will help us play a key role in creating the infrastructures that will enable a wide range of next-generation technologies.”

Professor Abbasi said: "Glasgow researchers will contribute support across all three pillars of the CHEDDAR project in areas including verifiable safety, integrated sensing and communication, cloud native radio intelligence controller, and foundational model for telecom. We're excited to be contributing our expertise to this collaborative effort, and we look forward to working with partners in the months to come.”

The University of Glasgow is one of 10 UK universities, and the only Scottish higher education institution, supporting the Joint Open Infrastructure for Networks Research (JOINER) project.

JOINER is the UK's first national accelerator programme towards 6G and beyond. It is a national R&D platform interconnecting academic institutes, research labs and industrial partners to enable innovation within a collaborative experimental environment.

Bridging the gap between experimenters, services and equipment, the JOINER fabric is a dedicated transport network interconnecting all JOINER terminals across the UK while a multi-tenancy hybrid cloud platform enables end-to-end service provision.

The JOINER project is set to accelerate the UK's telecom and technology approach by establishing a cutting-edge, national-scale experimentation platform designed to facilitate innovation, collaboration, and research across academia, industry, and government sectors.

With its ambitious vision, JOINER aims to integrate and upgrade existing national testbeds through a federated approach, enabling comprehensive research and development on future network technologies, including the pioneering of the UK's first full-scale 6G­enabled platform.

This initiative not only promises to enhance the UK's position as a leader in telecom innovation but also aims to strengthen the UK's influence on global standards and international collaborations.

The University of Glasgow, alongside the Scotland 5G Centre, is Scotland’s contributor to the JOINER project.

Professor Muhammad Imran said: “I’m proud that the University of Glasgow is involved in these two very important projects, which will help the UK maintain its world-leading position in future communications technologies and networks. It’s a reflection of the excellence of our research base in this area, which draws in expertise across a wide range of specialisms.”

TITAN, HASC, and CHEDDAR have also been allocated £4m in to build joint work between members of the Hubs and new partners across the UK landscape to expand the research programme in alignment with the hubs’ objectives and to showcase first 6G trials and experiments. Proposals can be submitted here.

First published: 27 March 2024