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Samsung’s Head of European 5G Reseach appointed Head of Engineering and Design at the University of Sussex

Professor Maziar Nekovee

The Head of European 5G Research and chief engineer at technology giant Samsung will join the University of Sussex this week as its new Head of Engineering and Design.

Professor Maziar Nekovee, the chief engineer behind Samsung’s European and UK research and collborations into fifth-generation (5G) mobile technologies, will take up his new post in the University’s School of Engineering and Informatics on 1 February.

Professor Nekovee views his appointment as the perfect opportunity to strengthen the School’s links with industry. He says: “It’s a very exciting time for UK engineering right now, with huge advances being made in 5G, driverless cars, robotics, smart cities, and ‘industry 4.0’.

“Things are moving fast towards standardisation in 5G and forward-looking research is moving into these new areas, where ultra-fast and low-latency wireless connectivity is a key enabler.

“What I really like about Sussex is it is ahead of the game in many of these.

“I see this as the next natural move in my career, allowing me to explore some of these new areas, while also bringing to Sussex my expertise and global links with the mobile and telecommunications industry.”

Professor Nekovee has spent the last two decades working on the interface between industry and academia.

In his role as Head of European 5G Research and Collaborations at Samsung Electronics R&D Institute UK (SRUK), he established and greatly expanded the firm’s research and collaborations in 5G within the UK and across Europe, managing a team of 10 PhD-level research engineers. He co-ordinates a number of large industry-led EU Horizon 2020 projects with a total budget of 24-million euros, and works closely with 5G departments of other industry giants, including Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Intel, Orange and Telefonica. 

As a member of the EU’s 5G Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) and elected vice chair of Networld 2020 European Technology Platform, Professor Nekovee has been one of a selected group of industry experts who advise the European Commission on its 1.4-billion euros Horizon 2020 research and innovation actions in 5G and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).

Before joining Samsung, he spent 12 years with BT, pioneering research in cognitive radio (the marriage of AI with wireless communications) to drive advances in smart phones, IoT and the availability of rural broadband. Drawing on his expertise in mathematical modelling and game theory, he was part of the team that prepared and executed BT’s highly successful bidding strategy in the UK’s 4G spectrum auction in 2013.

Professor Nekovee has more than 10 years’ experience in university research, gained through postdoctoral positions at Imperial College and Queen Mary University of London, a Royal Society Industry Fellowship at University College London (UCL), and has extensive collaborations with universities in Korea, the United States, China, and the Middle East.

Professor Nekovee says: “I’ve worked very closely with some of the top universities in the world and what sets Sussex apart is the very real opportunities for interdisciplinary research. Boundaries are breaking between engineering, computer science,  physics and maths, biosciences, even economics.  

“We have this unique opportunity at Sussex for cross-disciplinary research involving mobile communications, automotive, sensors manufacturing and product design.

“This is exactly what is needed right now to push a very ambitious digitalisation research agenda with high potential for impact on key industry sectors in the UK, including telecom, creative industries, retail, transport and health as well as the much broader UK digital economy.

“I am also very excited about new research areas like robotics at the School of Engineering and Informatics, where I see great opportunities to work across the two departments. 

“Having everything under the same roof is fantastic. Under leadership of Diane Mynors, the School has already a strong track record in collaborative working across diverse teams and building on this we have a real chance to achieve by 2020 a leadership position in the UK and globally.

“The School has impressive, modern teaching spaces and facilities, such as wearable technology labs, sensors labs, wired car facilities and pcb production, and I believe that we are well-placed to attract some of the best students in the UK to Sussex and educate them into excellent engineers, who, I am confident, will be highly sought-after by industry in the UK and globally.”

Professor Nekovee has a PhD in physics from University of Nijmegen and a first degree and MSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (cum laude) from Delft University of Technology, both in the Netherlands.

He has received a number of awards, including Samsung’s Best Research Practice Award and Project of the Year Award in 2015, BT's Innovation Award finalist in 2011 and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship.

He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, a  bestselling engineering book (Cognitive Radio Communications and Networks: Principles and Practice) and has over 10 patents.

He is a very sought-after keynote, invited speaker and panellist at top IEEE and IET international conferences and industry gathering, as well as having presented to telecom industry executives and government policy makers.

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Posted on behalf of: School of Engineering and Informatics
Last updated: Monday, 6 February 2017