Bright prospects for communications

BIOLOGICAL sciences at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee consistently rate high for research excellence among United Kingdom higher education institutions covered in the UK’s official Research Excellence Framework (REF) and its predecessor appraisal systems.

Overall in the 2014 REF exercise, 56% of Edinburgh’s biological science submissions for appraisal were classified as meeting the standards for a 4-star rating, the highest available, and 35% more were deemed 3-star. 58% of Dundee’s biological science submissions was rated 4-star, and 35% 3-star.

The 2014 REF was conducted jointly by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL).

“The University of Edinburgh is developing its world-class research in key areas that have the opportunity to make a significant impact through innovation,” said Wendy Nicholson, head of business development at Edinburgh Research & Innovation. ERI’s primary role is to commercialise the university’s world-class research and academic expertise to potential funders, collaborators, licensees or investors.

“For example, a key pillar of research which is poised to be transformational is the LiFi Research and Development Centre. It is developing visible light communications technology that delivers high speed mobile communications in a similar manner to Wi-Fi,”

Nicholson said. LiFi technology can increase the capacity, energy efficiency, safety and security of a wireless communication system. It is seven times faster than Wi-Fi. The LiFi Centre has been designed to work in partnership with industry to deliver the next innovation to meet the ever-increasing demands of the world for mobile communications.

It is led by Professor Harald Hass, who last year unveiled a prototype solar panel that harvests the sun’s energy while also powering LiFi technology and acting as a broadband receiver.