UCL and Imperial partner with Intel to create research institute

Imperial College London, University College London and the computer firm Intel have launched a research institute they hope will help to shape the way cities work in the future.

May 26, 2012

The Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities will use data from a variety of sources, including the government and users on the ground, to investigate how to make cities function more smoothly and efficiently. For example, applications could be developed to monitor weather conditions, traffic flow or water supplies and deliver real-time information to customers.

London will be the test bed for the research, which could potentially be applied across the world.

Launched on 24 May at 10 Downing Street by Chancellor George Osborne, the collaboration was the direct result of lobbying by Number 10 for international companies to come to the UK and, in particular, to work with companies in Tech City, a hub for high-tech start-ups in East London.

The centre will initially employ 12 researchers from Intel, UCL and Imperial College. Its budget is undisclosed, but will be drawn from the £48 million pot the company invests in research and development in the UK each year.

Martin Curley, director of Intel Labs Europe, said that the centre will develop near-market ideas, and will have a physical base at both universities – institutions he said were chosen for their “chemistry” with the company as well as their record in research and innovation.

The centre is part of Intel’s ongoing expansion of its research and development in the UK. The company already has eight British labs, with two more planned for 2012 and a further two for 2013. But this latest success masks the fact that the UK failed to cash in on Intel’s first wave of expansion, with around 40 such labs already existing in mainland Europe.

Mr Curley told Times Higher Education that as a venue for industrial R&D investment, the UK had in the past been “more of a backwater, even though it shouldn’t have been”. “It was kind of like a sleeping giant, and I think the UK has now woken up and played catch-up,” he said.

“I wouldn't say it’s becoming the location of choice, but one of the locations of choice,” he added.

Edward Astle, pro rector for enterprise at Imperial, said the institute would “start small” but planned to expand and incorporate new partners in the future. One of them would be the Technology Strategy Board, which has also set up a centre in the field of sustainable cities. This so-called “catapult” centre is part of an initiative designed to bring universities, business and government funding together.

As a microcosm of the world, London was the perfect test bed for such a project, he added.

Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, said the centre will use the Olympics as one of its first projects as a way of observing “pre-planned stress” on the city’s systems. “Those of you who are Londoners, we’re about to turn your fair city into a lab,” he said. “But don’t worry, we know what we’re doing.”


You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy