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Machine, people, intelligence

Memorial’s inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair strengthens communications technologies research capacity

By Jackey Locke

Imagine a wireless world without limits – that’s the focus of Dr. Trung Duong’s leading-edge research.

Dr. Duong has been appointed Memorial’s first Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in next generation communication technologies.

The CERC program, supported by the Government of Canada, attracts the highest calibre of experts to lead breakthroughs in science, technology and innovation.

The chair is an eight-year award valued at $1 million each year.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Duong as our inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair,” said President Neil Bose. “Memorial has significant strengths in telecommunications, information and communication technology (ICT), which represent strategic and critical areas of research for the institution.

“As an outstanding and skillful leader in his field,” Dr. Bose added, “Dr. Duong’s visionary research will strengthen our growing international reputation as an innovative leader in advanced ICT.”

Global impact

In an ever-changing world, the need for improved wireless connectivity, rate, accuracy, security, reliability and latency is greater than ever.

Dr. Duong’s research in next-generation communication technology, such as 6G, will seamlessly integrate the digital, physical and biological worlds. It will require significant fundamental research to ensure that future wireless networks are ultra-secure and capable of serving a wide range of wireless devices at ultra-high reliability and very low latency.

He plans to develop a ”wireless without limit” connectivity that can provide high quality-of-service targets for a massive number of connected devices.

“Transiting from an era of connected machines to connected people and connected intelligence will be a key enabler in achieving the full-scale digital transformation,” said Dr. Duong. “My research program will create a prompt response to sustainable digital infrastructure through the creation of sustainable next-generation communications technologies that have a potential impact on Canada’s science, technology and innovation priority research areas including health care, smart cities, rural areas, smart agriculture and climate resilience.”

Using an interdisciplinary approach, Dr. Duong’s ambitious research program will build a world-leading research and education initiative in 6G communications at Memorial University that will rival initiatives around the globe.

Next-generation communication technologies, such as 6G, have the potential to change how our world is connected.

‘Strong commitment’

Dr. Duong says he is proud to join Memorial and for the opportunity to expand his research at an institution that has frequently ranked in the top 76-100 in the world for telecommunications.

“With the booming ICT sector in the province, substantial investments have been made and are planned, with an increased number of jobs expected to be available in future years,” said Dr. Duong. “There will be important opportunities for me to collaborate with the local industry, which has also been going through the digitalization process. Memorial University, including its Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, has shown a strong commitment in sustaining the research advantage created by the chair.”

World-renowned expert

Dr. Duong received his PhD degree in telecommunications systems from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, in 2012. In 2013, he joined Queen’s University, Belfast, U.K., where he is an adjunct professor and a chair professor in telecommunications.

He has received esteemed awards, including being named a Royal Academy of Engineering research chair and a Royal Academy of Engineering research fellowship. He is a world-renowned expert in wireless communications with more than 500 publications in this area.

In 2017, Dr. Duong received the first Newton Prize – the most prestigious research award from the U.K. government to recognize research that promotes the economic development and social welfare in developing countries – for his research on maintaining communications under hostile conditions. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

CERC program

Launched in 2008, the CERC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, which is housed within SSHRC.

The federal government announced the significant CERC investment on Nov. 16. To view a video of the announcement, visit here.

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