Bristol University is part of an ambitious £5 million project with BT to create the next generation of converged digital infrastructure (NG-CDI). This will be needed as applications such as self-driving vehicles, 5G and virtual reality, all in development in Bristol, drive demand for higher bandwidth.

“Together we are pushing the boundaries of international 5G research”


Jointly funded by BT and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the project brings together experts from business and academia, with specialist knowledge ranging from networking, communications, statistics and AI to industrial automation and organisational behaviour.

The project is led by Lancaster University and includes Cambridge and Surrey universities. The aim is to develop an autonomic network that can react and even predict changes in networking demand, reconfiguring with minimal human intervention.

“NG-CDI consortium will undertake ground-breaking research laying foundations for future wireless and wired (converged) networks,” said Dr Robert Piechocki, the lead researcher at Bristol. “Many future data hungry services such as Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV), IoT and 5G will demand ubiquitous and dependable connectivity. Such converged networks will be expected to seamlessly re-tune the operations, and even self-heal.”

The project is part of a new set of Prosperity Partnerships that are receiving £31m  from the EPSRC and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and matched by partner organisations and university funds to a total of £78m.

“The University of Bristol enjoys a close relationship with BT and together we are pushing the boundaries of international 5G research,” said Professor Andrew Nix, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Head of the Communication Systems & Networks Group. “This EPSRC prosperity partnership programme enables us to strengthen our links with BT, grow our world leading portfolio of 5G research and cement valuable academic ties.”

You can see some of the applications being developed for next generation networks at the Smart Internet Lab,