University of Surrey wins inaugural Bhattacharyya Award

The university’s 5G Innovation Centre wins new £25,000 prize celebrating academia-industry partnerships

The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) has been awarded the first ever Bhattacharyya Award for university-industry partnerships.

The 5GIC academic research centre was launched in 2013, the first of its kind in the world. Since then it has brought academics together with over 27 global industrial partners and over 300 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help develop the UK’s 5G infrastructure.

The Bhattacharyya Award is a new, annual award named after late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Regius Professor of manufacturing at the University of Warwick and founder of research and education group Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), who died in 2019. It carries a £25,000 prize and is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS). The Royal Academy of Engineering and WMG at the University of Warwick judged the nominations.

Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya


“Collaboration with industry partners is at the heart of our achievements,” said the founder and director of 5GIC, Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli. “The challenge of 5G could not be met without the close cooperation of major businesses with academia and realising the benefits of the new technology by reaching out to regional communities and SMEs.

“We will use the Bhattacharyya Award funding to expand our overseas relationships – particularly with South Korea and Japan – and maintain our international profile. We will also use the prize to provide collaborative industry opportunities for training, knowledge exchange, and skills development for early careers researchers. All of these activities will be co-developed with industry to ensure that they meet the future needs of the UK and global workforce. We feel that this boost to skills development is particularly important to help offset the disruption caused by the pandemic.”

Science minister Amanda Solloway said: “I am delighted to see the first Bhattacharya Award go to the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), whose work to bolster the UK’s competitiveness in 5G technology has already helped to attract nearly £100m of industry funding.

“5GIC puts collaboration between industry and academia at the core of its work, and I hope this award inspires other researchers, academics and industry experts to join forces as part of our efforts to build back better from the pandemic.”

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