University of Oulu to begin groundbreaking 6G research as part of Academy of Finland’s flagship programme

The Academy of Finland has selected the University of Oulu’s proposal 6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem as one of the first two flagships in the new national research funding programme. The flagship programme aims to further increase the quality and impact of Finnish research by funding the most prominent research clusters with high scientific merits and impact in supporting economic growth or society at large. The flagships will carry out ambitious research programmes enabled by substantial funding for a period of eight years.

The University of Oulu’s programme is the first one in the world to focus on 6G research. The 6G research cluster combines several challenging research areas including reliable near-instant unlimited wireless connectivity, distributed computing and intelligence, as well as materials and antennas to be utilized in future for circuits and devices. By efficiently combining the research areas, context-dependent wireless connectivity solutions for future networked digital applications will be developed.

“By 2030s the digital application range explodes and new value chains emerge. Wireless connectivity is driving major societal changes, and the impact of 6G research will be tangible for example in the automation of manufacturing technologies, sustainable energy, e-health, and autonomous transportation – all investigated in the 6G research cluster”, says Academy Professor, Director of the 6G flagship Matti Latva-aho from the Centre for Wireless Communications (CWC) at the University of Oulu.

The international panel that evaluated the applications for the Academy of Finland’s flagship programme ranked the 6G research cluster number one in scientific merits and number three in impact among the applications.

“Receiving this substantial funding and an acknowledgement as one of the two flagships of Finnish research is an important enabling step in building the leading position internationally in 6G research. We want to build wireless communications expertise for the future in Finland together with our partners. In developing the wireless future our multidisciplinary expertise of technologies in different applications areas as well as technology adoption by human groups and societies will be utilised”, says Jouko Niinimäki, Rector of the University of Oulu.

The volume of the 6G flagship will be approximately €250 million over eight years, consisting of the University’s own funding and estimated competitive external funding. On the national level, the wireless communication R&D activities are expected to reach a level of billions of euros. Flagship’s scientific partners are Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and strategic partner the Joint Center for Future Connectivity established by Nokia Bell Labs and the University of Oulu.

"Nokia has been extremely active and successful in shaping 5G standards for the industry and is currently working closely with its partners for delivery of the first commercial 5G network launches this year. In working with our strategic partners on developing 5G further, we are excited to address the human challenges in our future connected world. We are very pleased with the recognition the University of Oulu has gained and the support they’ve received for long-term radio technology research," says research director Lauri Oksanen from Nokia Bell Labs.

6G research tackles the challenging technological disruption from 5G leading to 6G via three essential objectives. Firstly, supporting industry in the finalisation of the 5G standard by carrying out large pilots using the continuously developing 5G Test Network. Secondly, developing essential technology components needed for 6G. Thirdly, speeding up digitalisation of society via introduction of 5G and eventually 6G through demonstrating targeted application areas. Earlier this year, the University of Oulu demonstrated 5G technologies at Korean Winter Olympic Games. The ongoing 5G research will serve as a starting point for the development of a national test environment towards 6G technologies.

Further information

Academy Professor Matti Latva-aho, Centre for Wireless Communications at University of Oulu
tel. +358 294 482 847, email: matti.latva-aho(a)oulu.fi

Read more

Academy of Finland press release
Academy of Finland’s flagship programme
6G Research site
5G Test Network

Last updated: 18.4.2018