John McCanny, Head of School, Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Comuter Science
Dr Maire O’Neill, a lecturer in the School and a recent winner of the British Female Inventor of the Year award
Clean renewable energy, safer online credit card transactions and secure, yet less restrictive safety measures at airports, are just some of the areas that the public will benefit from following the latest RAE results for the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s (EEECS).
The world-class ranking of research in the School and the accompanying funding will boost essential research in the above areas and many more.
Professor John McCanny, FRS, Head of the School said: “Just last month it was announced that a £25 million investment in Queen’s will see it become the UK’s lead Centre for the development of technology to counter malicious ‘cyber-attacks’ (Centre for Secure Information Technologies – CSIT). This builds on the strong international research reputation already earned by the School and its extensive links to major university and industry laboratories worldwide.
“For many years, the School has been to the forefront in the UK in using its research base to actively promote wider economic benefit. This has included the creation in 2004 of the £37M Institute of Electronics Communications and Information Technology - ECIT – which is the Northern Ireland Science Park’s research flagship. ECIT has also led to the creation of new spin-out companies as well as the facilitation and support of many other early stage “spin-in” companies.
“Now with the forthcoming funding from today’s RAE results, the School can increase its efforts in driving forward new developments in many areas including energy and power research. The School through our Energy and Power cluster has been heavily involved in the creation of the new all-Ireland energy research council. The Schools Energy and Power cluster’s funders include NIE, Airtricity, Areva, Caterpillar, ESB, National Grid and Premier Power.
“Other areas of electronics, electrical engineering and computer science will also benefit. Dramatic advances in digital wireless technology over the past two decades have led to many exciting developments including the rapid growth of mobile and ubiquitous computing. Also, the internet is evolving into an essential utility like electricity, gas and water.
“Future work at Queen’s will develop secure solutions to a number of particularly modern problems including the protection of mobile phone networks, guaranteeing privacy over unsecure networks for connected healthcare and the creation of secure ‘corridors’ for the seamless and rapid transit of people, thus getting around the need for conventional security at airports.”
Dr Maire O’Neill, a lecturer in the School and a recent winner of the British Female Inventor of the Year award, is one of the researchers set to benefit from the financial recognition which follows the Schools world-class ranking. She said: “Security is an important factor that must be taken into consideration as we face into a new age of computing and online information storage.
“The capability of digital devices to autonomously interact, brings with it significant security and privacy risks for the end user and recent security breaches have been consistently in the headlines in recent months. Over the last decade there has been a significant increase in on-line banking fraud, credit card fraud and ID theft.
“It is important that work on security for next-generation wireless networks is carried out here in the UK to benefit society and to increase UK competitiveness globally. The latest RAE results mean Queen’s will continue be one of the lead institutions in this field.”
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