ERCIM News No.45 - April 2001 [contents]

Collaboration between IEI-CNR and Ericsson Lab Italy

by Antonia Bertolino

A long term agreement for collaboration between IEI-CNR and Ericsson Lab Italy (ERI) was signed in December 2000. The collaboration also involves research groups from the University of Pisa and from Scuola S. Anna.

Ericsson Lab Italy is Ericsson’s Italian product company; it was created in July 2000 from the R&D division of Ericsson Telecomunicazioni S.P.A. It is a strategic supplier for the Ericsson world-wide market with the mandate to identify, develop and manage globally successful products using the best Italian talents. Ericsson Lab Italy (ERI) develops products for mobile and fixed networks using “state of art technology” and the most advanced methods and tools. When participating in research activities with Italian universities and research centres, the aim of ERI is both to collaborate on the refinement and further development of the latest technologies and also to promote the creation of innovative solutions that will lead to the design of new products.

Within this framework, the objectives of the IEI-CNR/ERI collaboration agreement are multiple: to promote a tight, hands-on interaction between a research institute and an industrial laboratory, that share common research interests and similar working attitudes; to establish a privileged, institutional communication channel between industry and research; and last, but not least, to train young researchers on strategic themes, identified on an annual basis.

These ambitious goals will be pursued through the joint coordination of a set of research projects. Starting in January 2001, teams from IEI, Pisa University, Scuola S. Anna and ERI will conduct joint applied research on the topics of Software Engineering, and its application to the Telecommunications Sector. The hope is that, on the one hand, these projects will make evident to the research community the complexity of the activities and the real world problems and constraints faced by the industrial partner while, on the other, they will provide an effective benchmark for the validation and refinement of the latest research results from the academic labs.

Within the scope of this agreement, a new Software Laboratory is now being established in IEI, at the new CNR Research Area in Pisa. A number of young researchers will work full time in the laboratory, and will act as the connecting agents between senior researchers from IEI and ERI. For the first year, ERI has funded three doctoral grants, and two annual fellowships. These have already been assigned, after a public selection process. Staff from the ERI headquarters in Rome will spend short periods in the Laboratory in Pisa for faceo-face, effective interaction and exchanges of ideas with the these young researchers and the IEI team.

Four research projects have been launched for the first year of activity:

These projects share a common formulation: they will consider real world case studies and problems provided by ERI, and, although the researchers will be free to experiment innovative ideas and techniques, ie, the projects will be conducted off the production line, they will be monitored and reviewed at fixed, short term intervals.

The initiative is now in the preparatory phase, the organization of both the logistics and the human resources is currently being completed. Great care is being taken to create all the conditions needed to achieve an effective, result-driven research and a valid technology transfer programme. Yearly workshops will be scheduled in which the first results of the projects will be presented, and ideas can be exchanged for the identification of new directions for future projects. We hope to return in these columns within a year’s time to report on the highlights of the first workshop and the status of ongoing projects.


Please contact:
Antonia Bertolino - IEI-CNR
Tel. +39 050 315 2914
E-mail: bertolino@iei.pi.cnr.it