Wales targets 5G leadership with EU-backed £6m Centre of Excellence

By Lucy Ingham

The Welsh government is aiming to position the country as a world leader in 5G with the creation of a new Digital Centre of Excellence in Bangor, Wales.

Set to host highly specialised research in 5G and the wider field of digital communication systems, the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Centre of Excellence will be located at Bangor University.

It is funded by around £4m from the European Union, with an additional £1.67m from Bangor University and a further £349,000 from private sector partners.

Wales targets 5G might

The centre will focus on researching advances in DSP that can improve network speeds through enhancing mobile device performance and network architecture.

It will also explore how existing fibre infrastructure can be integrated into the emerging 5G network to enhance capacity and functionality, improving how the service can be used.

It is hoped that the centre will establish Wales as a leader in 5G research, bringing benefits for the country’s economy.

“Fast, flexible, adaptable digital systems, tailored to the needs of the user, are essential in today’s time-sensitive culture, and are vital to our nation’s development as we continue to boost productivity in the Welsh economy,” said Jeremy Miles, counsel general and Brexit minister, who oversees Welsh EU funding.

“The DSP Centre of Excellence puts Wales at the very heart of innovation in this key economic sector, and positions Bangor University at the top of the ICT research industry.

“Collaboration between top academics from Wales and world-wide institutions, high profile international companies and Welsh and UK SMEs, will lead to ground-breaking, world class research, resulting in cutting-edge solutions to advance the global 5G economy.”

It is also hoped that the DSP Centre will form part of a wider innovation zone in north Wales, building the country’s presence in the technology space while attracting talent and investment to the region.

“With academic, international and Welsh partners, the DSP Centre has the potential to promote the creation of a “DSP Economic Zone” along the A55 to bring transformative economic benefits to north Wales,” said Professor Iwan Davies, vice-chancellor of Bangor University.

“This is a fine example of the excellent research conducted at our University. It illustrates how research conducted by academics of international standing feeds into innovation and contributes to economic and social impact in our wider world.”

Welsh government hopes for further EU support

The announcement comes as the UK government inches closer to a Brexit deal, with the country set to leave the EU on 31 October.

However, the Welsh government still remains optimistic that its connections with the EU, and the associated funding, can continue.

“EU funding continues to drive progress in R&D, science, infrastructure and skills in Wales, as well as promoting economic growth and creating new jobs,” said Miles.

“We’ve been clear that we want this funding to continue, to enable Wales to carry on leading research into new technology systems capable of running on low power, and to progress towards a more equal, more prosperous, and greener Wales.”

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