UK joins coalition for future telecoms technologies

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Technology Missions Fund (TMF) has pledged £70million for telecoms R&D, with the UK also signing up to new global telecoms coalition.


The new Global Coalition of Telecommunications (GCOT) – made up of the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US – launched on October 5, 2023. The UK will use the coalition to help ensure communications networks can remain resilient and adaptable when confronted with challenges, ranging from supply chain disruption to cyber-attacks, allowing the country to stay connected at the most critical times.

The coalition will also explore opportunities for closer global coordination in areas such as research and development, information sharing and international outreach. Through these initiatives, the coalition seeks to advance several shared objectives, including promoting growth opportunities for industry and enabling dialogue between policymakers, business, and academia.

The GCOT statement can be read here.

In a statement, Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for science, innovation and technology, said: “This historic partnership reflects our shared commitment to harnessing the power of telecommunications for the benefit of our nations and the world at large.

“Telecommunications networks are the lifeline of global economies, and safeguarding their resilience and security in an evolving, interconnected world is a top priority for our governments. By joining forces, the UK and our partners are well-positioned to take the lead in broadening supply chains, nurturing industry knowledge, and bolstering security to address emerging challenges.”

Future Telecoms Research Hubs, led by multiple universities, will facilitate early-stage research to boost the UK’s role in shaping the future of 6G technologies. Innovate UK will also fund application-focused challenges to further market-ready solutions, allowing for collaboration of businesses and researchers in the UK’s telecoms sector.

Commenting on this, Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for communications and information, said: “Cementing the UK’s commitment to this vital domestic and international agenda, the UK Government is also today investing an initial £70 million in research and development for the next generation of telecommunications technology via launching a Future Telecoms Technology Missions Fund (TMF) Programme.”

This investment adds to the £250million that UKRI have invested through TMF, to enable new developments in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and engineering biology in the years 2023-2025 and beyond.

Davidson continued: “Universities and businesses across the UK will lead projects that bring new, game-changing ideas to the market which could benefit the public by improving internet coverage, supporting the universal rollout of self-driving cars, and reducing energy use in our growing digital world.”

The competitions under the Future Telecoms TMF launched on October 6, 2023, and can be found here.