UCL-Cambridge centre established in integrated photonics and electronics

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A new research centre that will focus on the integration of photonics and electronics has been established by University College London and Cambridge University in the UK.

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems (IPES) will run four-year PhD programmes, with the aim that the training will pass on into industries based on the optimal integration of photonics in electronic systems.

The centre brings together research activities from groups in photonics, communications, electronic engineering, nanotechnology, physics, materials, computer science, manufacturing, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, civil engineering and chemical engineering. It also will have contributions from more than 35 collaborating companies to provide an outstanding training environment for its students.

The centre was granted funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and builds on the success of the EPSRC-funded collaboration between the two universities, which set up a joint CDT for Photonic Systems Development in 2009. The funding will enable five cohorts of PhD students to be trained in the centre over the next eight years.

Director of the IPES, Professor Alwyn Seeds from UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: 'The new centre builds on work we have already undertaken to broaden the training of researchers to strengthen their appreciation of the systems context of technology research. Our aim will now be to increase pull-through of underpinning work in the physical and material sciences to advance the integration of photonic and electronic systems, leading to step improvements in electronic system performance through the use of photonics technology, radical systems cost reduction and a broadening of the applications field for electronics and photonics. To do this we have brought together key research groups from Cambridge and UCL to create a training environment of unparalleled richness.'

He added that UK photonics and UK electronics are large industries with annual revenues of £10 billion and £29 billion respectively, and that the benefits of the new centre to the UK economy will be large.

The IPES is one of 70 centres for doctoral training, which will share £350 million of EPSRC funding that will be used to train 3,500 post graduate students across 24 universities.

Funding for the centres was announced by the UK's Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, who said: 'I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today. This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.'