Internet of Things Research Hub announced in UK

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The UK's minister of state for culture and the digital economy Ed Vaizey has today confirmed a new interdisciplinary 'Research Hub' to drive forward UK research in the Internet of Things (IoT). The PETRAS consortium of nine leading UK universities will work together over the next three years to explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security.

Funding for the project includes a £9.8 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which will be boosted by partner contributions to total approximately £23 million.

The project is part of IoTUK, an integrated £40-million, three-year, government programme that seeks to advance the UK’s global leadership in IoT and increase the adoption of high-quality IoT technologies and services throughout businesses and the public sector.

The Hub is a consortium of nine leading universities led by UCL, along with Imperial College London, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Lancaster University, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University. The Hub will draw in substantial support and leverage from 47 partners from industry and the public sector.

Vaizey said: 'UK universities are renowned for their creativity, and pioneering research and development. We want the UK to be a world leader in the adoption of Internet of Things technologies, and I know that bringing these universities together with partners from the UK's thriving tech industry will be instrumental in making this a reality.'

Philip Nelson, EPSRC chief executive, added: 'In the not too distant future almost all of our daily lives will be connected, in one way or another, to the digital world. Physical objects and devices will be able to interact with each other, ourselves, and the wider virtual world.

'But, before this can happen, there must be trust and confidence in how the Internet of Things works, its security and its resilience. By harnessing our world-leading research excellence this PETRAS research Hub will accelerate IoT technology innovation and bring benefit to society and business.'

Designed to help create and deliver real-world impact, the investment will support the Hub’s work over the next three years. The research will focus on the challenges associated with the IoT, including the various interactions, policy and governance, beliefs and behaviours between people and the IoT systems.

Hub director and vice-dean of UCL Engineering Jeremy Watson said: 'We will maximise the economic and societal opportunities of the Internet of Things by removing barriers to adoption. Working with business, public, and third sectors will enable the PETRAS IoT Hub members to investigate questions of safety, security, privacy and trust within real life settings.'