Discover our new research centres: Future Communications


The Future Communications Research Centre is hosted by the Faculty of Science and Engineering. This Consilience Centre aims to develop a new generation of communications solutions that deliver connectivity with unprecedented speed, scalability, mobility, privacy, security and resilience.

Centre expertise

The Centre brings together a unique team to holistically address emerging connectivity challenges, with expertise in the areas of AI, digital, cyber security, satellite systems, quantum devices, internet of things, machine learning, photonics, astronomical optics and analog devices.

Research themes

The Centre’s vision requires an interdisciplinary research effort combining physics, engineering and computer science. Research themes encompass secure and provable communications algorithms and infrastructure.

Centre leadership

Professor Iain Collings, School of Engineering; Professor Judith Dawes, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Professor Dali Kaafar, School of Computing; Professor Annabelle McIver, School of Computing;  and Dr Hazer Inaltekin, School of Engineering.

Key partners

The Future Communications Research Centre aims to establish strategic partnerships with industry leaders in both the defence and telecommunications sectors.

Current projects include

Dynamic full-spectrum communications

This project explores targeting, tracking and communicating with a single drone or satellite in a complex environment and ensuring high-bandwidth data transfer. Structured light orbital angular momentum light, for example – offers advantages for resilience under atmospheric turbulence, and offers potentially high bandwidths for communications between satellites, or for shorter-range ground-based communications with drone swarms. 

Privacy preserving semantic compression-based networks

This project tackles the challenge of exploiting semantics in communication – using content and context understanding to drive privacy preservation, connectivity and efficient content delivery.

Provable hardware-embedded security and privacy

In this project, researchers are seeking to genuinely embed and guarantee privacy and security as an intrinsic part of the software and hardware of communications technology.

Anonymised quantumbased communications

For more than a decade, mix networks (also known as mixnets) have been studied and developed as a promising approach to ensuring anonymity and secure communications, and defending against mass surveillance and censorship. They also show potential for efficient communication in hostile environments by finding applications in combat-zones’ delay-tolerant scenarios. Quantum communications offer new opportunities in this field from the perspective of high efficiency and also leveraging quantum noise to enable privacy-preserving unlinkable data streams.

Heterogeneous networks in space

Satellite technology is at a tipping point where it is possible to envisage large networks of satellites, across multiple satellite orbital regimes. These will provide flexible, reliable communication services for a range of applications, from low-data-rate internet-of-things (IoT) devices to high-bandwidth 5G mobile support. The project will formulate a transformative new approach to coordinating heterogeneous satellite networking technologies.

How to engage with the Future Communications Research Centre

Staff interested in contributing to the work of the Centre are encouraged to contact





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