BT and Huawei are establishing a new research group at the UK’s University of Cambridge.

The five-year initiative, backed by £25 million in Huawei funding, will see researchers from BT and Huawei working alongside academics from the university.

Areas of focus will include photonics, a key component of optical fibre technology, as well as network infrastructure and media technologies.

Projects will also focus on the societal impact of communications technologies, including how they can reduce inequality and combat climate change.

In addition, the funding will support longer-term projects led by postgraduates which will focus on generating broader benefits from technology for industry and society. The projects will be overseen by a team of senior representatives from Huawei, BT and the university.

The group will kick off activity in the first half of 2018, initially involving a team of around five to 10 researchers from the telcos and an unspecified number of academics.

BT Group CEO Gavin Patterson said (pictured, left): “We believe the best way of ensuring this country remains at the forefront of innovation is by combining the expertise and commercial focus of industry with the fantastic intellectual capital found at our world-leading universities.”

Patterson added the partnership would “discover the next generation of technologies which promise to deliver huge economic, social and cultural benefits for UK citizens”.

Ken Hu, Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO at Huawei (pictured, right), said: “Technology is changing the world faster than we have ever seen. It will bring many benefits to mankind, and affect nearly every aspect of our lives.

“No single organisation has all the answers. Partnership is the only way forward in a complex digital age.”

BT invests around £500 million per year in R&D, particularly through its dedicated R&D facility at Adastral Park. The lab has recently seen BT collaborating with Dell and Ericsson in separate projects.

The operator saw group revenues fall two percent to £5.95 billion and pre-tax profits fall 10 percent year-on-year to £789 million in the three months to September.

Read more: 5G business cases don't exist, says BT Group CEO in grim assessment of tech

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