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Queen’s University in £38m bid to secure Smart Cities and the Internet of Things


Prof. John McCanny, ECIT Director and CSIT Principal Investigator with Arlene Foster, Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister

A major investment of up to £38 million is set to establish Queen’s University Belfast as a world-leading research and innovation hub for cyber security for Smart Cities and the Internet of Things.

The funding, which has been awarded as part of a major expansion of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s, was announced at the first day of the annual World Cyber Summit.

The £38 million expansion aims to enhance security in highly virtualised environments and connected devices, and to prevent personal information theft and fraud from laptops, smart phones and cloud storage.

Building on the many successes achieved by CSIT since it was established in 2009, the plans for expansion come as security experts and government policy makers from around the world gather for the 5th World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit.

The two-day event, held at CSIT in Belfast, is bringing together leading industry experts to discuss how to combat future threats to global cyber security. The select group of experts will share current trends in cyber security, look at security threats likely to emerge in the years ahead and agree on an international strategy for developing research that will safeguard the ‘Internet of tomorrow'.

Responding to the pioneering aims of the summit, CSIT has been awarded £5million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK, along with £9 million core funding from Queen’s, to continue its growth as a UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre - combining research with industry to achieve economic success.

The centre will build on its industry and academic partnerships worldwide, increasing the projected level of investment in its research to £38 million in the next five years.

CSIT will use this investment to drive forward its own research programmes, support the creation of more businesses and jobs, and provide skills and training for the UK cyber security industry, including the creation of a nine-month pre-accelerator program for cyber security entrepreneurs. The Centre plans to recruit 25 additional staff across engineering, research and commercial disciplines.

Speaking during the summit, Professor John McCanny, from the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “We are delighted to announce this investment at the World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, an event which is helping to make the Internet of Tomorrow a safe and secure platform for the next phase of the human journey. This funding recognises how over the last five years we have successfully blended world class research and innovation to deliver economic impact nationally, internationally and regionally.

“In line with the goals of this global summit, the investment will allow us to further accelerate new value creation in this sector, drive business venture creation through our new pre-accelerator programme and build capacity for the industry by providing it with high calibre Masters and PhDs graduates.”

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive said: “Strong economies are science economies, they invest in the science and engineering research that is needed to drive innovation and growth. The potential benefits of the virtual world and the opportunities that interconnected devices offer, for instance in our abilities to monitoring health, energy and maintain security are vast. However, we need to be able to operate in a resilient and secure environment that can cope with challenge of criminal and external threats. This funding will help arm the UK with the skilled people and techniques it needs to prosper as a nation.”

Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Innovation said: “CSIT has delivered significant UK economic growth through our original joint investment with EPSRC, contributing to over 950 new jobs in the Belfast cyber security cluster. By extending funding for a further five years, we underline our support for their commitment to raise the commercialisation bar even higher. This will help companies of all sizes grow through leveraging the excellent UK science base in cyber security"

Queen’s University is one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities, and has recently been placed in the top ten in the UK for research intensity in the Research Excellence Framework assessment exercise. In this exercise 93% of the research conducted by CSIT academics was adjudged to be world leading or internationally excellent.

The 5thWorld Cyber Security Technology Research Summit, running from 19-20 March, will include speakers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the UK Cabinet Office, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Allstate, Symantec, Citi, Paladin Capital Group, Chemring Technology Solutions, RSCI Cyberpsychology Research Centre, Cylab, BAE Systems, RSA and Rapid7. Find out more about the event at: http://www.csit.qub.ac.uk/Belfast2015

Please direct media enquiries to Andrew Kennedy, Queen’s Communications Office on 028 9097 5384 or andrew.kennedy@qub.ac.uk

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Queen’s researchers develop simpler, low cost stealth


The testing rig in the anechoic chamber in the School.

The FSS is printed on a microwave substrate, patterned with a thin layer of high frequency shielding paint. The whole absorber structure is only 3 mm thick

Radar-absorbent material (RAM), is a class of materials used in stealth technology to disguise a vehicle or structure and reduce the probability of radar detection – typically this could include aircraft, ships, submarines, missiles and satellites to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar and other detection methods. A RAM that can operate over a broad range of frequencies and incident angles, is simple to manufacture, low cost, robust, and thin enough for conformal applications like aircraft cloaking has been developed by PhD student Normi Zabri, along with other researchers, in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast.

 Traditional RAM is unsuitable for radar 'cloaking' of aircraft structures, wind turbines and surface vehicles. Their thickness, weight and shaping clash with other, more fundamental, design drivers, for example the operating environment or aerodynamics.

 Less bulky alternatives, like the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk's nano-composite paint can be used, but these are very expensive and so unsuitable for most commercial applications. One lower-cost approach to creating thin, light RAM is the class of periodic structures called frequency selective surfaces (FSSs). As the name suggests, an FSS selectively scatters incident EM radiation according to its frequency. FSSs normally consist of an array of patterned conductors, backed by a thin dielectric. A microwave FSS absorber will also have a metal sheet inserted behind the resistively loaded patterned elements.

 This lower-cost approach does come with more limited performance, as Dr Robert Cahill (Normi Zabri’s supervisor) explained: "The majority of the existing thin absorbers are narrowband and have poor angular and polarisation stability. They are also sensitive to the incidence angle, and it is difficult to achieve the precise surface resistance value required for each of the FSS elements."

 However, the FSS absorber presented by the Queen’s University researchers absorbs a wide range of frequencies over a wide range of incident angles, regardless of polarisation, and it is only 3mm thick.

 This thickness is around one tenth the wavelength of the radar radiation to be absorbed and much thinner than more traditional planar RAM, such as Salisbury screens that classically have a thickness of a quarter wavelength, but the material still achieves 90% backscatter suppression at incident angles up to 45°. The broad range of frequencies that are absorbed has previously only been possible with much thicker multilayer composite FSS structures, which are more difficult to manufacture and hard to use in conformal applications like aircraft.

The researchers involved in this project are based in the High Frequency Electronic Circuits Research Cluster within the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast.

 

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UCAS Information Events

The School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s will be holding a number of information events for students who have applied for undergraduate degrees in the School through UCAS.  The aim of these events is to provide students (and their parents/guardians) with the opportunity to find out more about the courses before they decide which degrees to accept as their firm and insurance choices in UCAS. 

Please note that these events are only open to those students who have received offers to study for the degrees (and students will have been notified about these events by letter).  If you are still waiting to receive an offer, you will be notified about the appropriate event following receipt of your offer.

 

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Includes courses in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Software & Electronic Systems Engineering

  • Wednesday 25th February 2015, 6-8pm, Ashby Building – Stranmillis Road
  • Wednesday 25th March 2015, 6-8pm, Ashby Building – Stranmillis Road

For further information on these events, please contact:

Gemma O’Donnell, email. g.odonnell@qub.ac.uk, tel. 028 9097 4618

 

Computer Science

Includes courses in Business Information Technology, Computer Science, Computing & Information Technology, and Software Engineering

  • Saturday 28th March 2015 in the Whitla Hall (start times at 11.30am and 2pm)
  • Thursday 23rd April, 6.30pm-8.30pm, ECS2 Building

For further information on these events, please contact:

Andrew Norton, email. a.norton@qub.ac.uk, tel. 028 9097 4640

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Farry announces major redevelopment of Queen’s University Computer Science facilities

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today announced that, following the allocation of £7.49 million in funding, a major redevelopment and expansion of the computer science teaching facilities at Queen's University Belfast has commenced. Pictured at the announcement are Minister Farry and Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston.
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today announced that, following the allocation of £7.49 million in funding, a major redevelopment and expansion of the computer science teaching facilities at Queen's University Belfast has commenced. Pictured at the announcement are Minister Farry and Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston.
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today announced that, following the allocation of £7.49 million in funding, a major redevelopment and expansion of the computer science teaching facilities at Queen's University Belfast has commenced.
 
The redevelopment work is taking place on the site of the Bernard Crossland building on the Malone Road and will cost £14.98 million to complete, with the Department for Employment and Learning and Queen’s University contributing 50% each. The building is the main facility for Computer Science at Queen’s University.
 
Following the announcement, Minister Farry said: “With the number of Computer Science students attending Queen’s having almost doubled in the past two years to 1,350, this major investment in infrastructure and teaching represents a major boost for our economy and higher education sector. Our economy needs a constant supply of high quality graduates with computer science and software engineering skills if we are to be globally competitive.”
 
Dr Farry chairs the ICT Sector Implementation Group, which manages an Action Plan setting out the short, medium and long term actions required to ensure that the local ICT industry has access to the skilled workforce it needs to grow and flourish, both now and in the future.
 
The Minister continued: “Since I took up office in 2011, much work has been conducted to improve our skills base to the local ICT industry. There has been an increase of around 1,500 undergraduate places in local higher education institutions - all in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. This is complemented by a 60% increase in publicly-funded PhDs in economically relevant areas.
 
“We have also increased applications for IT-related degrees at our local universities, developed IT apprenticeship schemes and created conversion courses and bespoke academies to encourage people into the sector.”
 
Welcoming the investment, Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston said: “The expansion of Computer Science is an institutional priority for the University and is closely aligned with the priorities set out in the Northern Ireland Programme for Government and the Department for Employment and Learning’s Higher Education and Skills Strategies.
 
"Our vision is that computer science teaching and research will be delivered in a hi-tech, flexible learning environment that encourages collaboration and innovation. Key to this is the integration of staff and students in a modern landmark building with increased computing resources and considerably more project space that will enhance the student experience and improve employability skills. This state-of-the-art facility will contribute to the vision of the ICT Industry in Northern Ireland to be a world class centre of ICT excellence.”
 
Construction work on the state of the art facility is scheduled for completion by April 2016 with its new modern facilities available to students for the start of the 2016/17 academic year.
 

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School Produces World-Leading Performance in REF 2014


100 per cent of the impact of research in Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's University is world leading or internationally excellent, according to the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) results released today. Electrical and Electronic Engineering is also ranked among the top 10 in the UK, and is placed 5th for the percentage of research which is of the highest quality.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 assesses the quality and impact of UK higher education institutions' research. The REF is a process of expert review which grades the quality of research on a 5-point scale, ranging from work recognised as world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour (4*) to that which falls below national standards (unclassified).

Highlights from the School's performance in REF 2014 include the following:

  • 100 per cent of the School's research impact was judged to be either world-leading or internationally excellent. This is a measure of the worthwhile effects achieved by the research outside of academia in areas such as business, the economy, civil society etc.
  • 93 per cent of research in Electrical and Electronic Engineering was judged to be either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • 72 per cent of research in Computer Science was judged to be either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).

Professor Stan Scott, Head of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's, said: "I would like to congratulate staff within the School on the outstanding REF results. Our research quality has improved significantly in both Computer Science and Electrical & Electronic Engineering compared to the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008. That is something that our staff, students and industry partners can be very proud of and we look forward to building on this going forward."

Queen's University as a whole has been placed in the top 20 in the UK for research. The REF underlined the breadth and depth of research excellence at Queen's, which has risen three places in the research power rankings since the last research assessment exercise in 2008.

Find out more about Queen's University's performance in the REF here.

Find out more about research in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's University here.

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Blazing a Trail- Women in IT


The speakers who took part in the ‘Blazing a Trail: Women in IT’ Event on 9 December. Pictured (l-r) were: Mary McKenna, MBE, tech entrepreneur/investor and entrepreneur in residence at the Northern Ireland Science Park; Deborah Craig, software developer and founder of Limejar Ltd; Dr Elizabeth O’Sullivan,  researcher in Secure Digital Systems at the Queen’s Institute of Electronic Communications and Information Technology; and Claire Burn, City Lead, Women Who Code and Queen’s MEng Student. Also pictured (centre) is Professor Stan Scott, Head of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Pictured (L-R): Mary McKenna, MBE; Deborah Craig; Professor Stan Scott; Dr Elizabeth O'Sullivan; Claire Burn.

Members and guests of the Chief Executives’ Club at Queen’s, as well as members of the Belfast branch of Women Who Code, and staff and students of the School of `Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, were invited to ‘Blazing a Trail: Women in IT’, on Tuesday 9 December in the Great Hall at Queen’s.

With a panel of four female speakers and a room largely dominated by women, there was a great atmosphere in the Great Hall for the last CEC event of 2014 that explored stories of female success in the Information Technology sector.

Dr Elizabeth O’Sullivan, a researcher in Secure Digital Systems at the Queen’s Institute of Electronic Communications and Information Technology, introduced the evening’s speakers and also took part on the panel for the lively Q & A session that followed. Claire Burn, the City Lead for Women Who Code – and currently a Queen’s MEng Computer Science student and freelance software developer, told those attending about how the global Women Who Code network was formed and how the Belfast branch is supporting local women working or wishing to work in IT.  She too participated in the panel debate with the evening’s two main speakers.

First to speak was experienced technology entrepreneur and angel investor, Mary McKenna MBE. Based now in London, Mary provided a lot of valuable tips and insights from across her career and her current work supporting new start-ups and young entrepreneurs.   Mary co-founded a successful e-learning company, Learning Pool, in 2006 on the back of a career in local government and exited the company in May 2014 in order to return to startup land. Since 2010 she has been Chairman of Northern Ireland’s Digital Circle, a body that represents the digital content industry. Earlier in 2014 she helped national youth volunteering charity, vInspired, to launch Task Squad, a brand new Google backed social innovation platform around micro-working for 18-25 year olds. Now Entrepreneur in Residence at the Northern Ireland Science Park, Mary was awarded an MBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list to recognise her services to digital technology, innovation and learning.

The evening’s second speaker, more recently embarked on the entrepreneurial journey, was Deborah Craig.  An energetic entrepreneur and software developer, Deborah is harnessing her skills and passion to help solve real problems through her new business, Limejar Ltd. Limejar is developing a game changing software solution to give Autistic children the best start in life, using early interventions to prepare them for their future as independent adults. Deborah was a semi-finalist of Northern Ireland Science Park’s INVENT2014 competition and is currently a candidate of the Invest NI Propel Programme, a prestigious accelerator for start-ups with a global, scalable potential.

The two inspiring talks generated many questions and comments from the audience. The productive networking continued on after the panel officially ended, as festive mulled wine and refreshments were served.

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Queen’s University Belfast Software Students win big at Allstate NI Hackathon


Hackathon winners Stephen Laide and Adam Fallon from Queen’s University Belfast are presented with their £1,500 worth of Apple vouchers by Bro McFerran and Opal Perry from Allstate NI

On Wednesday 10th December Allstate NI announced the winners of their recent Hackathon competition which was held at Queen’s University Belfast. The challenge was to invent new or improved products or service offerings within a fixed timeframe that leverage the data collected by an insurance company the size of Allstate in the US.   

Allstate NI partnered with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's University Belfast with a view to opening up the data to a group of students, have them develop ideas and ultimately produce a demonstrable product to the Allstate NI leadership team.  30 students in total registered for the event and were asked to initially present their thoughts to the Allstate NI team in groups. The groups were then given a week to turn their raw ideas into an initial design which were then reviewed by a panel of Allstate experts.  Four groups made the final and got to work on building a demonstrable application which was presented via immersive telepresence to a global panel from Allstate on the 20th November 2014. All of the entries were of a very high standard and came with many fresh ideas which impressed the panel. However, after much deliberation, DriveXP, made up of Stephen Laide (who studies Software and Electronic Systems Engineering) and Adam Fallon (who studies Computer Science), were named the winners with their iPhone application which was able to solve a major business problem in an innovative way.

On Wednesday 10th December the winning teams were invited to a celebratory event at the Allstate NI Belfast Office to collect their prizes. Upon arrival students were welcomed by Bro McFerran, Vice President and Managing Director at Allstate Northern Ireland, and treated to an array of refreshments. The groups were then presented with their prizes, a total of £3,000 worth of Apple vouchers, and then taken on a tour of Allstate NI’s new state-of-the-art Enterprise Command Centre.  

Russell Kane, from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at QUB said, “The Allstate NI Hackathon presented an exciting opportunity for the students to engage with experts in the IT industry and to experience the challenges of a real-life IT project. It has allowed the students to demonstrate their innovative as well as creative approaches to problem solving and we are excited to be a part of the Allstate NI journey.”

Opal Perry, Chief Operating Officer of Allstate Technology and Operations International said, “Each group came up with innovative ideas during the course of the Hackathon and had great energy when presenting their ideas. Because of this we decided to award all four finalists with Apple vouchers to show our appreciation to them.  I’d like to thank all the students for taking part and I look forward to the possibility of seeing their ideas come to life in the insurance industry.”

 

The full list of finalists and prizes are as follows:

  1.      DriveXP - made up of  Stephen Laide and Adam Fallon who each won £750 worth of Apple vouchers
  2.      IVEA  - made up of Adam Whiteside, Alex Caskey, Andrew Boyd and Victoria Potts who each won £125 worth of Apple vouchers
  3.      Profilers - made up of Dave Nesbitt, Aine Rice and Alex Kidston who each won £170 worth of Apple vouchers
  4.      Safe Hands  - made up of Iain Wilson, Hannah Smith, Mike Seeds and Jason McMahon who each won £125 worth of Apple vouchers

 

ENDS

 

Notes

About the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS)

EEECS at Queen's has been the launch-pad for many an exceptional career. Our graduates are in high demand by software companies, the automotive and aeronautical industries, financial services, power companies and computer games developers to name but a few.  On average, employment success rates for graduates from our School are greater than 80% after just six months, a statistic not bettered by many others.

Find out more about studying at EEECS

 

  1. For further information on this press release please contact Hayley Ferguson, Marketing Coordinator, Allstate Northern Ireland on 028 9067 8454 or e-mail hferg@allstate.com.
  2. Allstate Northern Ireland (formerly known as Northbrook Technology) was founded in January 1999 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Allstate Corporation, the largest publicly owned property & casualty insurance company in the US.
  3. Allstate Northern Ireland specialises in delivering high-quality, low-cost technology and business solutions to its parent company, The Allstate Corporation and its subsidiaries.
  4. Allstate Northern Ireland currently employs over 2,300 employees over 3 locations in Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane.
  5. The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the largest publicly held personal lines insurer in the US, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate
  6. For further information visit our website www.allstateni.com

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QUB Electric DeLorean Project

QUB DeLorean electric car

Electrical and Electronic Engineering students at Queen's University are undertaking a novel project which involves the conversion of a 1981 DeLorean sports car from a petrol engine to one operated by electrical propulsion.

This unique project is being is being led by Dr David Laverty, a lecturer in the School. Belfast is the home of the DeLorean Motor Company, with the original manufacturing plant located just five miles from where the car will be converted into the Car of the Future. It is remembered for the one model it produced — the distinctive stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 sports car featuring gull-wing doors. The DeLorean DMC-12 shot to worldwide fame in the Back to the Future movie trilogy as the car made into a time machine by eccentric scientist Doctor Emmett L. Brown.

The QUB Electric DeLorean project is sponsored and supported by Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) as part of their engineering education activities. Electric Vehicles present great opportunities for decarbonisation of transport, but the technologies and electrical infrastructure required to support them will require a new generation of Electrical Engineers.

The DeLorean will be restored and converted to use an electric motor and battery pack by a team of undergraduate students from the various educational pathways offered by the School of EEECS. Dr Laverty is aiming to have the QUB Electric DeLorean on the road by 21 October 2015…the day Marty McFly arrives in the future!

Why not follow the progress of the QUB Electric DeLorean project –

Blog – Follow Brian and Kenny (final year students working on the car)
Facebook: facebook.com/QUBEV
Twitter: @QUBDeLorean

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Travel Bursary opportunities

Queen's University Belfast are please to offer travel scholarships for a variety of students- to find out more:

William and Betty MacQuitty Scholarship (Closing Date: 22 January 2015)

http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/AcademicAffairs/ScholarshipsandAwards/CurrentScholarshipOpportunities/WilliamandBettyMacQuittyTravelScholarships/

University Travel Scholarships – Emily Sarah Montgomery, Sir Thomas Dixon & First Trust (Closing Date: 29 January 2015)

http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/AcademicAffairs/ScholarshipsandAwards/CurrentScholarshipOpportunities/UniversityTravelScholarships/

Alan Graham Fund Travel Scholarship (Closing Date: 29 January 2015)

http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/AcademicAffairs/ScholarshipsandAwards/CurrentScholarshipOpportunities/AlanGrahamFundTravelScholarship/

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Dr Gareth Conway wins Early Career Researcher Impact Prize

Dr Gareth Conway collected his prize from Professor James McElnay (Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Postgraduates)) and Ms Claire McCollum (Compere)
Dr Gareth Conway collected his prize from Professor James McElnay (Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Postgraduates)) and Ms Claire McCollum (Compere)

Congratulations are due to Dr Gareth Conway from the ECIT Institute's Wireless Communication Systems Cluster for his recent success in the QUB Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Prize for 2014 which were announced at the Chief Executive’s Club at Queen’s Gala Dinner and Impact Awards Ceremony in the Whitla Hall on Friday 21 November 2014. The competition was organised by the Research and Enterprise Directorate.

Dr Conway was the winner of the Early Career Researcher prize for his work on Wireless Medical Vital Sign Monitors (VSMs). Existing state of the art VSMs are limited in terms of reliability and range. Now however, as a result of his collaborative research between with Toumaz Group Ltd (Sensium Healthcare) wireless VSMs have the capability to reliably monitor patients remotely, over 800% greater distance.

The prize is further evidence of ECITs focus on world leading research which has commercial and societal impact and the Wireless Communication Systems Cluster's vision to develop "wireless that works"

Find out more about Dr Conways research into Wireless Medical Vital Sign Monitors (VSMs) on the Wirless Communication Systems Cluster page here.

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Queen’s University student named 2014 Digital Hero Overall Winner


Andrew Mulholland, pictured here with his TalkTalk award

A first year Computer Science student at Queen’s University Belfast, Andrew Mulholland, has been named TalkTalk Digital Hero and awarded £10,000.

Andrew first won the Digital Hero category of Next Generation for founding the Robotics Club which is dedicated to teaching young people about Computer Science via workshops and courses.  The award, voted for by the public, recognises the future potential of young person to become a star in technology industry.  The 18 year old from Ballymoney, then competed against the winners from eight other categories to be crowned overall winner of 2014.

Andrew was presented with a trophy at a ceremony held in the House of Commons in London this week and a £10,000 prize fund to develop his project.

He plans on developing a pilot program designed to teach secondary school teachers in Northern Ireland innovative ways of using the Raspberry Pi in the classroom.

Andrew Mulholland said: “I want every student in the UK to get the opportunity to try out Computer Science – winning this award will allow me to make that possible.  It means I can create a portable classroom so I can go into more schools and make my project scalable.  It also means I can continue to support the robotics club that I set up whilst at Dalriada School in Ballymoney.”

Professor Stan Scott, Head of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s University, , said: “Andrew is a fantastic student and we are proud of his achievement, not only winning the youth category but claiming the overall title, despite being the youngest finalist.

“At Queen’s we are committed to advancing knowledge and changing lives and through Andrew’s enthusiasm in bringing the excitement of computer science to young people through his Digital Hero project he will help them to discover the benefits of the digital industry which is key to Northern Ireland’s economic growth.”

For media inquiries, please contact Judith Rance, Queen’s Communications Office, 028 9097 5292,j.rance@qub.ac.uk

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Asidua Scholarships - Application process now open

The Asidua Scholarship Programme supplements the academic learning from University with real-life business experience, working with ICT Professionals who are more than happy to share their knowledge and understanding.

The Asidua Scholarship at Queen’s University will support students studying the following degree courses:

  • BSc/ BEng/ MEng in Computer Science
  • MEng in Computer Games Development
  • BEng/ MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • BEng/ MEng in Software Engineering
  • BEng/ MEng Software and Electronic Systems Engineering

The successful students will avail of a package worth up to £25,000:

  • £1,000 per year for each of the scheduled academic years of the course; 
  • At least eight weeks paid summer work between each academic year;
  • A paid industrial placement in year three;
  • After completion of industrial placement, the opportunity for paid part-time work during the academic year – typically equating to 1 day per week (subject to course schedules);
  • Following an application for a permanent position and subject to success at interview, in accordance with Fair Employment legislation, a permanent position with Asidua after graduation.

How to Apply:

Asidua's Queen's University Belfast Scholarship Programme for the 2014/2015 academic year is now open to application.  Apply here before the closing date – 24 October 2015 at 5pm

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Power Academy Scholarships – Information Session

Open to all Electrical and Electronic Engineering undergraduates at Queen’s University  (except final years)

 

Wed 8th Oct 2014, 1-3pm,

Room GM001 Ashby Building

(includes lunch)

No need to register – just come along

At this event you will receive an overview of the Power Academy, including key dates; hear from current scholars and also have the opportunity to speak to representatives of some of the companies involved.

 

What is the Power Academy?

The Power Academy is a unique partnership between industry and academia, established to address the looming skills shortage in power engineering through a combination of financial support and workplace mentoring for students.  There are just 8 UK universities in the Power Academy.

Sponsoring Companies

Sponsoring companies include NIE, ABB, Atkins, BAE Systems, Costain, CCFE, London Underground, Mitsubishi Electric, National Grid, Northern Power Grid, Npower, Rolls Royce, Scottish Power, SSE, Siemens, UK Power Networks, Western Power Distribution.

Number of Scholarships

54 scholarships are on offer this year to Electrical and Electronic Engineering students across the 8 participating universities.  Only 8 UK Universities are in the Power Academy Scheme, of which Queen’s University is one.  These are the top UK universities for electrical power engineering in the UK.

What are the benefits?

A Power Academy scholarship provides:

  • A bursary of £2,200 for each year of study;
  • £220 for books and software;
  • Mentors from industry partners;
  • Paid summer work placements;
  • Annual high level seminar on important sector issues.

Who can apply?

All Electrical and Electronic Engineering undergraduates (except final years) in the 8 participating universities may apply.  It is open to Home and EU students only. 

For further information

If you have any queries about this event, email Gemma O’Donnell, g.odonnell@qub.ac.uk

For further information on the Power Academy, visit – http://conferences.theiet.org/power-academy/

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Queen’s University in £400,000 bid to reduce cyber-attack threats to national grid


Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have received funding of almost £400,000 to reduce cyber-attack threats to the UK’s national grid.

The project aims to identify vulnerabilities within the national grid as wind and solar generated electricity become more widely used. The grid operates over the telecoms network making it vulnerable to cyber-attack.

The research is one of four new projects which make up a £2.5million initiative, co-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UK’s National Cyber Security Programme, which will focus on the cyber-security of the UK’s critical infrastructure including manufacturing plants, power stations, the electricity grid, and the rail network.

Professor Sakir Sezer, from the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s, said: “Presently, Ireland frequently operates with over 50 per cent of electricity supplied by wind generation.  Operating the system with such high levels of renewable generation is a challenge, and requires complex wide area monitoring and control. 

“Should the telecoms systems that support the control system be compromised, the impact of the resultant loss of electricity supply would have far-reaching consequences for society.  This would involve loss of consumer supply, supply to hospitals, industry, and would even affect the gas, water and sewage networks.

“The researchers will demonstrate assured and improved operational decision making and lay the groundwork for a new, cyber-threat resilient, control architecture for the grid.” 

The Research Institute in Trustworthy Industrial Control Systems (RITICS), based at Imperial College London, is co-ordinating the overall research with projects at Queen’s, the University of Birmingham, City University London and Lancaster University.

The research teams will work with industry partners to understand and analyse the risks from cyber-attack, examine how risk is communicated to business and provide effective interventions to counter the risk. Metrics and software tools will be produced so that non-technical decision makers can assess cyber-security in the context of their business.

Professor Chris Hankin, from the RITICS at Imperial College London, said, “Where control systems are linked to the internet we need to understand how failures could cascade across the system. We will be looking at new ways of repairing damage to systems if an attack happens.

“We need to address how to approach network maintenance for industrial control systems, particularly as most systems operate on a 24/7 basis. So we will be looking at how we can ensure better protection without compromising performance.”

Ends

Media inquiries to Claire O’Callaghan, Queen’s Communications Office on c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk or 02890973087.

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Lessons in Engineering Innovation


Prof Roger Woods with his new book, entitled 'Engineering Innovative Products: A Practical Experience'

A device to help you pour the perfect stout or an innovative technology to assist drivers in reversing a vehicle up to a trailer are just two examples of the inventions featured in an innovative new book about developing a product for commercialisation.  Entitled 'Engineering Innovative Products: A Practical Experience' the book provides a practical insight in to the steps involved in setting up a company from scratch, and is based on the experiences of engineering students and staff at Queen’s University Belfast. 

Prof Roger Woods, a member of the lecturing staff in the University, is the main author of the book which draws on the experiences of students in undertaking their 3rd year industrial projects as part of MEng degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Product Design and Development at the University. As a direct result of the courses, students have had a number of successes, with many winning awards and taking their ideas forward and setting up companies - a number of which are discussed in the book. The book also features insights from staff that have set up their own businesses, as well as industry experts.

Professor Woods commented: “As our students work in project teams to develop a product which aims to be commercially viable, they gain excellent real-life experience in setting up a company.  In the book, an insight is not only provided into these experiences, but also from those of staff who have set up their own companies.  I myself am a founder of a University spin-off company, Analytics Engines, which is a global leader in providing solutions to speed up analytics for Big Data.” Queen's University has a long history of innovation success and is one of the most successful universities in the UK for spin-outs, the portfolio of which has a combined turnover of £144m.

Professor Andy Hopper from the University of Cambridge, himself a leading entrepreneur, provided the forward and warmly recommends the book.  He commented:  “The book takes the reader through all the essential steps in creating a successful business’’ and believes that, as a result of publication of the book:  “The chances of successful innovation in engineering will be much improved.”

Steve Orr, Director of the Northern Ireland science Park Connect Programme which aims to link entrepreneurs with resources they need for success, commented: “The book provides vital insights into commercial development for engineering in a highly practical and applied manner” and added that: “It has allowed students to develop their commercial literacy and ambition in the University.”

‘Engineering Innovative Products: A Practical Experience' is of benefit to students and staff at universities involved in engineering innovation, as well as anyone considering setting up their own company.  Details can be found at Wiley at the following link http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118757734.html.

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Legacy Gift awarded in Dragon’s Den Style Competition


Professor Sean McLoone, Director of Research in the Energy, Power and Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster at Queen’s, is seen here congratulating the winner, Dr Wenping Cao. Also pictured are the judges (L to R) Dr Dermot Leonard, Head of Business Alliance within Research and Enterprise at Queen’s, Professor William Scanlon, Director of Research in the School’s Digital Communications research cluster, and Professor Brendan Fox, Emeritus Professor in the EPIC research cluster.

Dr Wenping Cao from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) has been awarded the Faudell Harvey Gould Legacy Gift in a Dragons’ Den competition for EEECS academics. The Legacy Gift of £10,000 was bestowed on Queen’s by the Estate of Faudell Harvey Gould to fund research into new sources of energy and power.

Academics in EEECS were invited to pitch a proposal for funding to a panel of three Dragons before an audience of staff and students at the Ashby Building on Friday 20 June. The panel of Dragons comprised Dr Dermot Leonard, who leads the Business Alliance team within the Research and Enterprise Directorate at QUB; Professor William Scanlon, Director of Research in the EEECS Digital Communications research cluster; and Professor Brendan Fox, Emeritus Professor in the Energy, Power and Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster.

Dr Cao’s pitch in favour of ‘Bridging the Gap in Power Electronics Research’ was deemed by the Dragons to be the outstanding proposal for Legacy Gift funding. Dr Cao argued that Queen’s should further its research into the enabling technology of power electronics, which is of critical importance in establishing a low-carbon economy in the United Kingdom. Dr Cao will use the Legacy Gift to develop three 10kW DC-DC converters using IGBT, SiC, and GaN power devices, respectively, targeting electric vehicles, photovoltaics, and DC microgrids.

Proposals by the other finalists, Dr Robert Best (‘Solar Energy Research’) and Dr David Laverty (‘The $100 Phasor Measurement Unit’), were strongly commended by the panel. Drs Cao, Best, and Laverty are all lecturers in the EPIC research cluster, which focuses on problems related to renewable energy integration into power networks, smart grid technologies, intelligent control systems and manufacturing informatics.

Further information on research carried out within the EPIC Research Cluster at Queen’s can be found here.

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Queen’s MSc prepares students to build wireless Internet of Things

Dr Emi Garcia-Palacios, MSc Wireless Communications Course Director
Dr Emi Garcia-Palacios, MSc Wireless Communications Course Director

Queen’s University Belfast has launched a unique new MSc in Wireless Communications that will prepare students to build the wireless Internet of Things.  The course combines traditional Wireless Communication with cutting edge technologies such as body sensors, wearable technology and smart grids.

The Masters will be informed by research carried out at QUB’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) based in the Northern Ireland Science Park. ECIT has developed significant expertise and world leading researchers in wireless communications including the areas of wireless, mobile and radio communications, high frequency electronics, digital signal processing, data mining, cryptography and computer security, all of which are particularly relevant to wireless communications.

The ECIT Institute has significant industry links, through its Industrial Advisory Board, to companies such as Xilinx, Infineon and Thales. These engagements have also informed the syllabus of this new course ensuring graduates are well placed to compete for roles in this industry globally.

The School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has invested heavily in the areas of wireless communications and high frequency electronics over the last year, appointing 7 new members of academic staff who bring vitality and enthusiasm to this new course. In line with rapidly evolving technological trends, this course will prepare students to develop innovative new solutions for, and take advantage of the opportunities presented by, 4/5G networks and the Internet of Things.

Dr. Emi Garcia-Palacios, MSc Wireless Communications course Director, said “This new MSc at Queen’s University Belfast which combines the latest wireless technologies with upcoming trends such as sensors, smart grids and security is a unique opportunity for local and international students joining the course. We anticipate a strong demand from industry for graduates.”

The new Masters, which will begin in September 2014 and is open for applications now, aims to train the next generation of engineers who will play a key part in the global wireless internet revolution.

For more information and to apply go to: MSc Wireless Communications

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