Innovate UK launches 5G tech R&D competition


Innovate UK has announced a 1 million investment in 5G research and development to help bolster the UK's position when it comes to next-generation broadband.

The organisation has launched a competition that will see companies battle it out to get a share of the available funds.

To qualify, the entries must have collaboration at their heart - whether with either academic or research institutions, or communication services providers and they must be projects lasting between nine and 12 months.

They should also focus on improving the user experience of 5G, including applications and services, while also addressing key concerns such as security and privacy.

"The projects we fund may be related, for example, to the Internet of Things, the tactile internet, mission-critical applications, new handset services, new mobile applications, connected media/broadcast services, immersive and interactive content, or content distribution," Innovate UK said.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills-sponsored agency commented that although there's been substantial innovation in 5G infrastructure in the UK, with initiatives such as the 5G Innovation Centre based at the University of Surrey 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership, new projects have mostly been run by large companies.

Although this is not a bad thing, it means 5G products and services will rely on high-density, ultra-low latency, high mobility and an ultra-high data rate. It doesn't want to dissuade the big telecoms companies and other large businesses from developing UK-based 5G tech, but by inviting the smaller companies to become involved too, it will promote a fairer infrastructure.

"Within the UK SME community, a number of companies are currently anticipating value-added applications and services that can harness the characteristics of 5G," Innovate UK said. "The purpose of this competition is to stimulate this capability and enthusiasm so that the UK is well placed to be an early exploiter of 5G and a leader in its applications and services."

Businesses wanting to take part in the competition must register by 20 January and submit applications by 3 February.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.