UK Universities 6G Funding Bonanza: Chip, Telecoms, AI Research

March 13, 2024

Written by Caio Castro

The United Kingdom Department for Science, Innovation and Technology announced over £1 billion (USD 1.2 billion) in funding for doctoral training in the country. Among the long-term goals is 6G, according to the government.

“Thousands more people across the UK will train and gain qualifications in future tech like artificial intelligence and others that could transform areas like medicine, 6G and quantum computing,” the body said in a press statement.

Overall, 65 Centres for Doctoral Training [CDTs] will receive a budget to train 4,000 students in several areas. Even though the government has not disclosed how much each institution will get from the public sector, it shared that:

  • £479 million will support centres in quantum technologies
  • £16 million from the Ministry of Defence will support two CDTs, including one led by The University of Edinburgh which will focus on sensing, processing and AI for defence and security systems.
  • £169 million funding from UK universities
  • £420 million in financial and in-kind support from business partners, public sector and charity partners

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing, led by Cardiff University, will focus on research to improve the design, manufacture and environmental sustainability of semiconductors. That includes solutions for many current and future technologies, such as 6G wireless, high-capacity data storage and electric vehicles. This is one of three CDTs expressly focussed on telecoms, with others in AI, cybersecurity/resilience and semiconductors also clearly relevant.

Another area which should benefit 6G is quantum computing. According to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, funding for this topic will include £14 million for 100 quantum PhD studentships in universities across the UK.

There will be another £14 million to fund early career researchers through a competition open now and running until 10 April. It also includes £4 million to create more apprenticeship pathways into quantum through a pilot scheme.

“By targeting critical technologies, including artificial intelligence, and future telecoms, we are supporting world-class universities across the UK to build the skills base we need to unleash the potential of future tech and maintain our country’s reputation as a hub of cutting-edge research and development,” Michelle Donelan, Science and Technology Secretary, concluded when announcing the investments.

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