Imperial College London has shrugged off security concerns over Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to expand its data science and innovation collaborations, which the university insists will enable "cutting edge discoveries for the benefit of society".
The five-year collaboration builds on almost a decade of work together and will see Huawei become the lead sponsor of Imperial’s Venture Catalyst Competition (VCC) to support student entrepreneurialism and further support the build out of the UK’s innovation ecosystem. It will also be lead technology sponsor of the annual public engagement event, the Great Exhibition Road Festival, in South Kensington.
In addition, Huawei will become a founding partner of the Leonardo Centre, a new hub at the Imperial College Business School that explores and experiments with new ways of doing business in order to regenerate economies, communities and natural environments around the world.
Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial College, said: “We work to be at the cutting edge of discoveries and technologies for the benefit of society. Our partnership with Huawei has already yielded some considerable advances, and we look forward to expanding this collaboration further.
“Huawei’s expertise in wireless technology will help our researchers, students and partner enterprises to lead the next generation of digital innovations.”
Victor Zhang, Huawei’s vice-president and head of the London office, said: “We are pleased to be playing our role in helping to create an environment where research can explore the boundaries of 5G and AI technologies and rethink what’s possible in the 5G and AI world.
"We are delighted to provide our world-leading technologies and experiences to an academic partner to support innovation and the creation of ecosystem. It is important for industry and academia to work together for growing the economic and social value as a whole."
Huawei is listed by the US government as a potential security threat and after approving the Chinese company for a limited 5G infrastructure rollout, the UK Government stated that the firm is being kept away from "critical" infrastructure.
However, as part of the Imperial partnership, Huawei will provide 5G indoor wireless network and AI Cloud platform, at one of the university’s campuses. This facility will support the research work of Imperial’s Data Science Institute (DSI); the Leonardo Centre; the College’s Enterprise Lab, and the wider SME community that Imperial collaborates with.
Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School, said: “This partnership with Huawei will help enhance our mission to transform society through world-class research that addresses the key challenges facing businesses today.
"In today’s uncertain business landscape, there’s a much greater need than ever before for business leaders to experiment with and scale innovative enterprises that have a long-lasting societal impact. Imperial College Business School is conducting groundbreaking research on sustainable business and we look forward to strengthening our position on this topic through this collaboration.”