Network of Excellence in Wireless Communications
The NEWCOM project saga: fostering and structuring excellence in research over more than a decade
Over more than a decade, the NEWCOM project saga was extremely successful in fostering and structuring research excellence wireless communications. We joined the saga on day one, participated in all the follow-ups, and became a co-project leader in NEWCOM#.
This evidences that CTTC’s excellence in research achieved international recognition. A non-exhaustive list of achievements in the last 3 years, includes the publication of +500 articles (45% joint papers), the development of polar coding techniques or CTTC’s open-source GNSS-SDR receiver, the organization of 10 in-company dissemination events, 8 training schools, 3 emerging topic workshops, and a number of tutorials, workshops and special sessions in selected conferences.
The NEWCOM saga comprised three EC-funded projects, namely, NEWCOM, NEWCOM++ and NEWCOM# which run in the 2004-2015 period. The overall financing by the European Commission was close to 16 M€ for an overall effort of 3400 person-month. Projects were aimed at building a Network of Excellence (NoE) with the most prominent research institutions working in the field of wireless communications and networking from all over Europe.
Specifically, the NoEs pursued the following objectives:
- to produce medium to long term results in the area of design and performance evaluation of wireless networks;
- to strengthen the integration of partners’ research activities and agendas, both at the theoretical and experimental levels;
- to foster Industry-academia cooperation, dissemination, and liaison by making academic research closer to industrial needs and interests;
- to provide a unique training environment for a new generation of researchers with solid skills and background in both theoretical and experimental research;
- to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the NoE by creating a permanent environment for cooperative research.
The number of partners ranged from 60 in NEWCOM, to 14 in NEWCOM#. In subsequent consortia, the most committed and outstanding partners were retained. We joined the saga on day one (shortly after opening doors) and participated in all the follow-ups. Notably, in NEWCOM# we played the role of co-project leader. All the above evidences that CTTC’s excellence in research achieved international recognition.
On the more theoretical side, NEWCOM pursued long-term, interdisciplinary research on the most advanced aspects of wireless communications like finding the ultimate limits of communication networks, opportunistic and cooperative communications, or energy- and bandwidth-efficient communications and networking.
The foundation of the so-called “EUropean lab of Wireless communications for the future INternet” (EuWin), a federation of three sites at CTTC, U. Bologna and EURECOM, focused on the more experimental aspects of research. The lab hosted researchers working on a few general themes like radio interfaces, internet of things, and flexible communication terminals.
Complementarily, the project also included a number of initiatives aimed to foster excellence like the creation of seasonal schools, a series of publication in journals and books, and an action directed towards strengthening relations with European companies through a number of in-company dissemination events.
The NEWCOM saga was extremely successful in fostering and structuring research excellence wireless communications.
A non-exhaustive list of achievements from NEWCOM# (2012-2015) includes the publication of +500 journal and conference papers, with 45% of papers co-authored by researchers from 2+ institutions (i.e., joint); the strong interest that polar coding raised among large industrial players such as Huawei and Samsung, and the several IEEE prizes and awards it received; the successful development of Open Air Interface to support cloud RAN which is extensively used nowadays in e.g., Horizon 2020/Europe projects; the implementation of an open-source project of a Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) receiver, freely available at http://gnss-sdr.org, that was incubated at EuWin@CTTC; the organization of 10 in-company dissemination events (in Telefonica, Huawei, NEC, to name a few); the organization of a panel targeted to entrepreneurship in the final NEWCOM#/COST event with the participation of several SMEs; the organization of 8 one-week training schools and 3 emerging topic workshops primarily targeted at PhD students and young researchers; and the contribution of a number of tutorials, workshops and special sessions at EUCNC events and other major IEEE conferences (ICC, Globecom, etc).
Besides, 8 academic institutions and 10 companies joined NEWCOM# as Associate Partners (i.e., with no funding support) in the course of the project. This was a clear sign of the project’s vitality and attractiveness beyond the original beneficiaries.