University of Sheffield to enhance collaboration on the IoT

The University of Sheffield has won a bid which will fund a new project to drive forward collaboration concerned with the Internet of Things

The project, headed by the University of Sheffield, is a collaboration between the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Newcastle.

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnection of computing capability in everyday objects and in the fabric of our infrastructures, such as smart controlled via an Amazon Alexa is an example system that makes up part of the IoT.  

Some estimate that we will have 50 billion connected elements online sometime in the next decade. The IoT supports a host of so-called ‘smart’ applications ranging from industrial process control through enhanced management of dementia. It is critical to industrial, societal and economic development in the UK.

Sheffield, the lead university of the successful bid has been awarded £4.9m million by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) to fund the Promoting the Internet of Things via Collaborations between HEIs & Industry (Pitch-In) project. 

The Pitch-In collaboration will benefit the UK as a whole via wide-scale collaboration between academic institutions and the public and private sectors. The project, led by the University of Sheffield, will investigate the barriers to successful IoT take-up, trial solutions, and capture and share good practice learning outcomes.

The collaborative project will also disseminate guidance regionally, nationally and globally and will support the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy by significantly enhancing the commercialisation and wider exploitation prospects of UK IoT research and technology. 

Professor John Clark from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield said: “The Internet of Things underpins much of the current drive to increased industrial automation and enhanced services and is set to have major impact on most of our lives.”

“The Research England Pitch-In collaboration between Sheffield, Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge will enhance the universities’ ability to work with each other and with their regions to promote adoption of the Internet of Things, particularly in manufacturing, health, smart cities and energy.”

The Internet of Things underpins much of the current drive to increased industrial automation and enhanced services and is set to have major impact on most of our lives. – Prof John Clark, University of Sheffield

“Our inclusion of management and social sciences experts also allows us to take a more holistic approach to facilitating IoT collaborations. With the help of some major industrial collaborators, such as the global engineering organisation Siemens, sector and technology specialists and networks such as the High Value Manufacturing and Digital Catapults and the Northern Health Sciences Alliance, regulatory authorities such as OFGEM, and increasing engagement of businesses of various sizes, we have the potential to increase the adoption and exploitation of IoT technology in our regions and beyond, and consequently bring significant societal benefits. We undoubtedly have a world class collaboration and I’m delighted to be leading this initiative.”

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England said: “These projects demonstrate the commitment of universities to work together to strengthen the R&D and technological capabilities of the UK building upon our successful Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). In the Industrial Strategy, the Government asked us to improve our ability to turn exciting ideas into commercial products and services. Universities have stepped forward in these projects to show that they can do world class commercialisation, alongside world class science.”

“I believe these projects present important innovations that should inform our strategic approach to commercialisation in UK Research and Innovation for the future.”

The Connecting Capability Fund supports universities in working together and with businesses and other partners to commercialise research and share good practice and capacity. The Fund is highlighted in the Government’s Industrial Strategy and will help achieve its aims of enhancing UK industrial competitiveness and productivity. It builds on established processes and the success of Research England’s HEIF programme.  


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