Bristol University seeks industry collaborators for INITIATE project

SOURCE: Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash
Researchers need to keep up with the increasing complexity of internet networks.

By U2B Staff 

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The University of Bristol is inviting potential collaborators to pitch ideas to its INITIATE project led by the institution’s Smart Internet Lab to advance the country’s internet research capabilities. 

The INITIATE project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and aims to spearhead research into the future capabilities of the internet. 


With the emergence of 5G, cloud services and the Internet of Things (IoT), the landscape of internet connectivity has become even more intricate and complex. 

This makes it essential to truly understand the depth of these complexities in order to design new internet systems and applications for these networks. 

INITIATE will address this challenge by linking the UK’s extensive expertise in network research and innovation with operational, state-of-the-art facilities at five leading network labs in the University of Bristol, Lancaster, Edinburgh and King’s College London and at Digital Catapult, London. 

The project will foster interdisciplinary academia-industry collaboration. Source: Alex Kotliarskyi/Unsplash.

The project is now seeking collaborators from UK internet research and innovation communities to utilise INITATE’s unique, distributed network research testbed. 

INITIATE aims to drive educational and industrial innovation by fostering interdisciplinary interactions and facilitating academic-industry cooperation. 

Potential collaborators could include researchers or small and medium-sized tech companies whose projects would benefit from utilising INITIATE’s testbed network.

INITIATE will allow these third-party projects to explore various areas in internet network research including optical networks, wireless and radio frequency (RF) communications, IoT, software-defined networking (SDN), network function visualisation (NFV) and cloud and edge computing. 

The INITIATE Exchange Services will provide a scalable and easy ‘plug’n’play’ framework for future testbeds to join in.

It has already been verified within the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, a nationally coordinated government programme to boost the country’s digital infrastructure and elevate the UK to the forefront of 5G technology. 


The INITIATE infrastructure has been used across various sectors. Examples of test projects include two recent 5G musical performances which used the infrastructure to test and showcase the potential of ultra-low-latency, high-bandwidth, and full synchronisation delivery over a 5G network. 

The ‘Orchestrating the Orchestra’ programme in March 2019, for instance, saw the world’s first fully synchronised concert connect musicians in three physical locations across London and Bristol. They were all performing in real-time and in sync as if they were in the very same room. 

A second showcase involved a live music lesson conducted by jazz musician Jamie Cullum that was attended by pupils at Bristol, Birmingham, and London using the commercial 5G network of BT/EE and the INITIATE academic network.