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Professor Gerard Parr, Chair of Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Ulster, School of Computing and Information Engineering, has been appointed to the Strategic Advisory Team of the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

EPSRC - the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences – has an annual budget of around £850 million.   Total research and training funding across ICT programmes is approximately £177 million.

Members of the Strategic Advisory Teams help identify research and training priorities and strategy within their respective portfolio to ensure that the funding of skills and the research base are in place to meet the needs of government, industry and society in the UK.

Professor Parr says future challenges include the need to ensure that the underlying technology and systems needed for the continued growth of the Internet and its associated applications will be of benefit to all citizens, regardless of their economic situation or geographical location. 
“This will require innovations in the hardware design and management software of fixed-wireless access devices and the security, performance and resilience of the underlying telecommunications infrastructure and network elements such as switches, routers, exchanges and even data centres.” 

He continued: “UK universities have an international reputation for cutting-edge research into the technologies and industries that will change the face of society and the economy and how we engage with key areas such as digital communications is an enabler in that development.

“In the most recent UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Computer Science research at the University of Ulster is amongst the top universities in the UK and Computer Science research at Ulster was ranked 15th out of 81 UK universities in terms of research power.  Our submission of 41 staff was the 8th largest in the UK, with 55% of the submission judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent, and 90% internationally recognised.”

Professor Parr’s appointment to the Strategic Advisory Team is recognition of the quality of research being carried out at Ulster.

“This is an opportunity to get a more detailed appreciation of the strategic policy frameworks and thinking within EPSRC that drives research funding in our area.  It also allows me to have direct input to the development of new activities, policies and processes that will impact on future research priorities and their funding.”   

In his new advisory role, Professor Parr will be expected to alert EPSRC to new and emerging research and training opportunities, including international opportunities; advise on the balance between research and training activities; and identify and advise on areas that need further exploration or investigation.  

Professor Parr is currently involved in a number of high profile EPSRC funded projects including Sensing Unmanned Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (SUAAVE- and the India-UK Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (  He is a Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and provides technical evaluations of UK research funding proposals.