UL given key role in €8m EU wireless project

2 Dec 2003

The University of Limerick has landed a key role in a €8m EU project to build the next generation of wireless transmitters.

Dr Máirtín Ó Droma, senior lecturer at the Department of Informatics and Electronics at UL, will head up one of the five research sections of a European virtual centre of research excellence, which the EU plans to establish as part of the project called Target (Top Amplifier Research Groups in a European Team).

“With this project the University of Limerick has been given a key role in Europe’s wireless communications research strategy,” said Dr Ó Droma.

“The money will be spent on integration efforts to develop a kind of virtual research centre, to get all these researchers working together and in effect make a large laboratory facility available to a greater number of people.”

He added: “Some 50 top European microwave and millimetre wave research centres and laboratories will integrate their research facilities and groups through this network. This will bring together the strengths and skills of some 200 internationally renowned researchers into a virtual centre of excellence. This strategy is aimed at overcoming the fragmented and scattered nature of European research efforts and resources in this field. The European Commission view is that the consequent long-term spin-off will bring significant benefits for the European telecommunications industry, employment and economy in the future.”

The research is focusing on developing new components for ultra wideband wireless transmitters. These will enable the wireless delivery of broadband services in future generations of greatly enhanced multimedia mobile phone systems. According to Ó Droma, the “key show-stopper” will be the ability to achieve high-powered amplification of radio signals and to develop new technology behind ultrawide band transmitters that is power efficient and that does not cause distortion. The particular focus of his research is ‘linearisation’, a method of reducing distortion of radio signals.

The network of 50 European research teams includes a second Irish university, UCD, which is represented by Tom Brazil of the Dept of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

The European Commission was expected to give final approval to the project last week. This approval is still pending but Ó Droma was hopeful that sign-off would be given before Christmas.

By Brian Skelly