Chinese telecoms giant Huawei announced today that it is teaming up with Imperial College London on a new data science innovation lab.

The lab, to be jointly funded by both parties, will bring academics from Imperial together with Huawei researchers in a bid to develop new applications in fields such as smart cities, energy and healthcare.

Huawei said it will put money towards next-generation cloud computing servers, a research and innovation fund, and operational costs for the new lab.

The data science lab is the first major corporate partnership within Imperial’s new Data Science Institute, which seeks to cultivate multidisciplinary collaborations between the College's academic experts and research partners to develop new big data technologies.

“Imperial’s Data Science Institute is a focal point for global collaborations with governments, industry and the academic community," said the institute's director, Professor Yike Guo. "The new Imperial - Huawei Data Science Innovation Lab will show how collaboration between academia and industry can drive innovations in big data to benefit all of our lives."

The announcement of the lab follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Huawei and Imperial earlier in 2013, under which both parties agreed to look at opportunities for collaboration.

William Xu, CEO of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said: “Imperial College is a global institution with unrivalled knowledge in this field. By bringing together its experts and our engineers we believe we can create new products and services that will harness the huge potential of big data.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed and it remains unclear whether the lab will be established in a new or existing facility. 

"This collaboration with Imperial also bolsters the wider partnership programme we have with British universities, which includes working with other institutions around the UK on the 5G technologies that will revolutionise how we communicate in the future.”

The Shenzhen-headquarted company is also looking to build a $200 million (£125 million) research and development (R&D) centre in the UK as part of a £1.2 billion wider investment in the country. Huawei said the centre, to be built at a currently unknown location, will focus its research on optoelectronics, device design, software development and other fields.