06 Jan 2016   |   Network Updates   |   Update from University of Warwick
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

WMG part of new £23 million Internet of Things Research Hub announced today

WMG at the University of Warwick is to play a significant role in a new £23 million interdisciplinary Research Hub designed to drive forward UK research in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy has today (Wednesday 6th January 2016) confirmed that the University of Warwick is one of nine leading UK universities in the PETRAS consortium which will work together over the next three years to explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security.

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

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 including the University of Warwick, UCL, Imperial College London, The University of Oxford, Lancaster University, the University of Southampton, the University of Surrey, the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University. The Hub will draw in substantial support and leverage from over 47 partners from industry and the public sector.

Digital Economy Minister, Ed 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.”

Professor Carsten Maple, Professor of Cyber Systems Engineering in the WMG Cyber Security Centre at the University of Warwick will lead on the Hub’s Privacy and Trust research theme. He said:

“The significant data generated by, and used within, the Internet of Things compels us to thoroughly understand privacy, trust, and ethical issues. We need to examine how data is stored, transmitted and used to ensure that privacy is maintained. If consumer and industry trust in the Internet of Things is diminished, there will be a great loss to business and society. How we address consent, privacy and protection issues will be vital to ensuring that the internet of things develops in way that is both acceptable and beneficial to us all.”

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said:

“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, Professor Jeremy Watson said:

“We will maximize 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.

“The UK has the potential to be the world’s most supportive environment for the development and deployment of a safe and secure Internet of Things. We will raise the bar using innovative collaborative and interdisciplinary research methods.”

The PETRAS IoT Hub will focus on five themes:

  •     Privacy and trust (Lead Universities: Warwick, Oxford)
  •     Safety and security (Lead Universities: Imperial, Lancaster)
  •     Harnessing economic value (Lead Universities: Imperial, Oxford)
  •     Standards, governance and policy (Lead University: UCL)
  •     Adoption and acceptability (Lead Universities: Warwick, Lancaster)

Each theme has both a technical and a social science lead. The multidisciplinary nature of the PETRA IoT Hub’s work will enable research that aims to cause a step change in the way IoT systems are conceived, designed and implemented.

Across these themes, projects sharing core technologies will be linked in cross-cutting “constellations”:

  •     Infrastructure (Lead Universities: UCL, Cardiff, Warwick, Oxford)
  •     Health and care (Lead Universities: Imperial, Oxford)
  •     Control systems and supply chains (Lead Universities: Warwick, Lancaster, UCL)
  •     Ambient environments (Lead Universities: Lancaster, Surrey, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh)
  •     Identification (Lead Universities: Warwick, Oxford)
  •     Transport and mobility (Lead Universities: Surrey, Lancaster, Imperial)
  •     Design and behaviour (Lead Universities: Warwick, UCL, Oxford)

Innovations will be created hand-in-hand with those who will use them, connecting cutting edge science and engineering, through social sciences to concrete action. By doing so, it will create the necessary solid foundations for technological innovations that are socially beneficial.

The initial 17 projects include large scale experiments at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; the cybersecurity of low power body sensors and implants; understanding how individuals and companies can increase IoT security through better day-to-day practices; and ensuring that connected smart meters are not a threat to home security.

Future projects will adapt and respond to new issues, trends and innovations, as and when they emerge.

Evidenced based policymaking in the UK will be supported by the outputs of the PETRAS IoT Hub. Hub members aim to influence standards that facilitate interoperability and opening to new market entrants and inform policy options that are responsive to technological change whilst balancing potential benefits and harms.

For further information please contact:

Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845 email L.Barwick@warwick.ac.uk

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up