The UK government has pledged to fund organisations doing 5G research in Surrey with £5 million over the next five years.

The money, coming from the government’s Local Growth Fund, is being awarded after an application was filed by Enterprise M3, one of 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the country aiming to secure economic growth on a local scale.

A chunk of the funding has been granted to the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which is due to open in Guildford next April. It is said that the centre will feature large scale 5G experimental facilities and specialised laboratories for end-to-end network testing.

“The Enterprise M3 LEP lobbied hard to secure funding to support the work of the University of Surrey and its partners, which will help reinforce the region’s position as a leading centre for mobile telephony innovation both nationally and internationally,” said Geoff French, chair of Enterprise M3 LEP.

“The 5G Arrow centre on the University of Surrey’s campus will harness the market leading technological skills in the region and is truly a ‘next generation’ project.”

Together with a consortium of industry partners including Aeroflex, AIRCOM International, BBC, BT, EE, Fujitsu, Huawei, Ofcom, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Telefonica and Vodafone, the 5GIC will conduct research into the development of advanced technologies for a 5G network of the future. It will be home to 150 researchers and 100 PhD students. 

“The 5GIC is the world’s first dedicated research centre for 5G technology and an international hub for telecommunications research and innovation. Our vision is for the centre to play a crucial role in developments connected with the Internet of Things, intelligent transportation, ‘smart’ cities and Future Internet technologies, with significant benefits for UK business innovation, profitability and efficiency,” said Sir Christopher Snowden, vice-chancellor and president of the university.

“This funding, which prioritises the development and expansion of 5G mobile technology in the region, provides an exciting opportunity to accelerate 5G’s impact locally, helping Surrey and Hampshire based companies get a head start on what the new technology will enable, in terms of growth and investment, for both the UK and global economies.”

To date, the 5GIC project attracted over £65 million in funds thanks to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and 5G industry partners in the development of the 5G Innovation Centre on the university’s Stag Hill campus.