press release
Published: 14 March 2024

University of Surrey leads £8 million initiative for training in secure AI-era networks

A national effort is needed to train the next generation of the United Kingdom's workforce in intelligent and resilient telecom networks, says a world-leading 5G and 6G expert from the University of Surrey.  

The comment comes as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced that Surrey's 5G/6G Innovation Centre will lead a new £8 million Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Open Secure Networks (FORT).  

Over the next eight years, FORT will train more than 50 post-graduate researchers, who will become leaders with unique expertise in wireless communications, cybersecurity, networking, and artificial intelligence (AI). Surrey's future cohort will influence the roadmaps of future open networking and security technologies and their applications.  

In partnership with Queen's University Belfast's (QUB) Centre for Secure Information Technologies, FORT also enjoys support from more than 21 industry partners. These partners include: Amazon Web Services, Ampliphae, Angoka, AWTG, Catapult Satellite Applications, Codasip, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, HP, Intel, Interdigital, Keysight Technologies, Kyndryl, National Physical Laboratory, Nvidia, OpenWeb, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, Virgin Media O2, and Viavi Solutions. 

Along with providing a world-class education with access to industry, FORT will create an environment for students to research new and better ways to build communication networks that are safe, reliable, and ready for the future. FORT is committed to conducting responsible, ethical research in cybersecurity, AI technologies, and future networks, with a strong societal focus. This approach is designed to generate world-class academic contributions and establish a pipeline of talent for the future. 

With the FORT programme, we aim to create a community of 50 PhDs who will become the future, industry-conscious thinkers and leaders on secure, trustworthy and autonomous future network communications. Dr Jesus Martinez del Rincon, Co-Director of FORT and Research Director of Secure Intelligence at CSIT at QUB

Along with Professor Tafazolli and Dr Martinez del Rincon, FORT will be led by: Dr Tim Brown from Surrey, who will serve as Director of FORT, and Professor Máire O'Neill from QUB, who is Co-Investigator of FORT. 

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