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Meet the UKTIN delivery partners: The University of Bristol

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Crispin Moller on 29 Nov 2022
  • Last modified 1 Dec 2022
UKTIN—a new innovation network for the UK telecoms sector—is being delivered by a consortium of four partners: Digital Catapult, Cambridge Wireless, University of Bristol and WM5G.

Over recent weeks, we’ve been introducing you to these partners and hearing their thoughts on what UKTIN will offer. Below we speak with Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Co-Director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute. 

What is the role of your organisation in UKTIN?

The University of Bristol has several roles, split into three distinct categories. We are creating online mapping tools, which will enable services for navigation and discovery of the UK Telecoms R&D ecosystem. We are facilitating the academic engagement, aiming to better integrate early TRL R&D into the ecosystem. Thirdly, we are supporting research translation and commercialisation, focusing on scaling up the UK  innovation capability.

Why did you want to be part of  UKTIN?

I have been working in the telecom sector for 30 years, both in academia and industry and I believe that the UK has the potential to become a leader in the global telecoms industry. Of course, we need to keep up our momentum on R&D but we also need an ecosystem, a place where we can come together and create collectively. Currently, there are several concerns (particularly around security and geopolitics) that need to be addressed. The UK telecoms sector is greatly important, and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to play a role in its transformation through UKTIN. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the UK telecoms ecosystem?

There are many challenges but probably the most pressing is the fragmentation in the sector. We tend to look at the ecosystem in terms of technology domains: looking, for example, at mobile networks separately from optical networks, or the internet. But the industry is linked and should be treated as such. Until the launch of UKTIN, we had no forum in the UK for joining forces and as a result, missed out on important conversations. UKTIN will bring the community as a whole together, defining a shared strategy and asking the necessary questions. 

Where lies the biggest opportunity?

Identifying key and leading UK R&D capabilities and promoting our technological strengths. The telecoms industry is global and currently, we are failing to articulate where the UK can lead or contribute. I think that’s the biggest opportunity. In addition to this, diversification and bringing awareness to the future key infrastructure security problems are becoming increasingly important.

What do you hope to achieve within UKTIN?

A joined-up ecosystem. The sector players talking to each other. Attracting international companies and their research into our conversations. We would also like to raise the UK profile through standard contributions and of course, drive the government’s strategy for future telecoms. 

What is the biggest benefit a boosted telecoms ecosystem will bring to the UK?

A boosted telecoms ecosystem is critical for our nation’s economy and prosperity. It is vital that we make the UK offering visible and discoverable. Only then will we be able to enhance collaboration across companies, academia, vendors and service providers. But we also need to make the UK industry more investable for external investors. Hopefully, soon, we will start to see a significant boost in both collaboration and commercialisation.

You can read the interviews with the other UKTIN delivery partners here.

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