back to article Imperial College London signs £5m campus sponsorship, 5G deal with Chinese comms bogeyman Huawei

Imperial College London, currently in the headlines for its modelling of the spread of COVID-19 across the UK, has signed a five-year collaboration deal with controversial Chinese tech outfit Huawei. The tie-up, reportedly worth £5m, will see Huawei's indoor 5G network equipment and "AI cloud platform" installed at the college …

  1. BenDwire Silver badge

    State Interference

    I suppose it give them the potential to blame state interference if their numbers turn out to be wildly inaccurate ...?

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    While I am sure Huawei will see some benefits from the deal,so will the UK. Students will have access to important kit for their studies and eventual will go on to be part of British technology.

    Getting five million smackeroonies from the UK gov' for research is like winning the lottery (never happens for most people) so Uni's have to go where the money is.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Where the money is

      "Uni's have to go where the money is"

      Well, duh, that's the neo-liberals' idea of how to run universities. No surprise that they're going to the most successful telecomms & networking company in the most important country in the world.

      Why would anyone look to a collapsing economy such as the US for long-term R&D money? And this stupid government has made the EU a much less promising source of funds. You're left with China.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      While I am sure Huawei will see some benefits from the deal,so will the UK. Students will have access to important kit for their studies will go on to be part of British technology.

      And the Chinese state will have access to all of Imperial's research, which will go on to be part of Chinese technology.

  3. Jemma

    Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

    And a certain elephant?

    The British government is stuffed full of people who'd even get sacked from British Leyland - not so much flat caps as flat skulls. The Chinee own everything else and they will until we stop them.

    Oxford uni is essentially broke, Cambridge is essentially bordering on bankrupt and students there are being harassed by the US military - dangling money with the unspoken (until you've signed) rider that you are US MILITARY property.

    The UK government is a bad joke practically everywhere in every field so where else are research organisations going to look?

    Stop funding crap we can't afford and will never use *cough* nuclear deterrent *uncough* and start funding stuff we need like research and proper support for those who need it.

    1. EddieD

      Re: Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

      I don't think either part of Oxbridge is essentially bordering on bankrupt.

      All those figures are going to be hammered, but there's still money in the University sector.

      1. Chris the bean counter

        Re: Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

        Oxbridge has solvency issues as while very wealthy their pension assets currently guarantee the pensions of all other UK universities pension funds, many of which are probably broke if an unbiased actuary did the calculations.

        The calculations used currently are somewhat similar to a stats model beloved by Imperial college

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

          "their pension assets currently guarantee the pensions of all other UK universities pension funds, many of which are probably broke if an unbiased actuary did the calculations"

          Prior to COVID, the "best professional estimate" by those running USS was that it was in *surplus* (50% or higher chance of generating a surplus, likely around £5bn). The current valuation, which has had a whole load of pessimism added to it, is that there is a deficit.

    2. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

      There have been a number of arrest of professors here in the US (and will be more) who were secretly taking money from the Chinese government.

      In return they were providing China with the results of their research while also being funded by the US.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

      "Cambridge ... students there are being harassed by the US military - dangling money with the unspoken (until you've signed) rider that you are US MILITARY property."

      I don't understand the reference here, Jemma. Any chance of a [reliable] link, please?

  4. Chris the bean counter

    Nowt so thick

    As academics sometimes.

    Anyone else would see the optics of this deal are a total disaster.

    Unfortunately China has so corrupted British institutions (Barry Gardiner £200K etc) that they have managed to water down the legal protections

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Nowt so thick

      As far as I can see from (fairly) extensive reading, there is nothing that makes Huawei kit less reliable or trustworthy than any other manufacturers' kit, and more reliable than some others. Apart from some gobshite in a country that is largely irrelevant to a UK university's purchasing decisions, no one else seems to thing there is a serious problem, either. Here's a thought - maybe the kit bought is most appropriate for the job, all things taken into account.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian spies graduate from Oxbridge

    Everyone else from Imperial College.

  6. jelabarre59


    And every server will come with a free packet of COVID-19

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Bonus

      Correction: The COVID-19 is delivered by the British Government.

      1. Chinashaw

        Re: Am I being over cynical?

        Corrected Correction: If China hadn't hidden the scale and contagiousness of CV19, neither the British Government nor the rest of the world would be delivering CV19 to anyone.

        Whinge all you like about the Government but direct your ire at China, the global nature of CV19 is entirely on them.

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Am I being over cynical?

          but the scale of the failiure since it reached our shores is entireley the the fault of

          yes the chinese didnt contain it, but still, suposedly had a pandemic response plan and still it was SNAFU

          Taiwan dont trusk the PRC at all, and they still managed to keep their 23.8 million (1/3 rd UK) very much protected with just 440 cases and 7 deaths, theri values are democratic and their population density is twice that of the uk.

          they quarentined at the border, they tracked and traced and they tested where needed.

        2. crayon

          Re: Am I being over cynical?

          Hidden the scale? At the beginning of January China had announced to the world that some new kind of virus was doing the rounds.

          "Mr. Azar was at his home in suburban Washington, on Friday, Jan. 3, when Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the C.D.C.’s director, called to tell him China had potentially discovered a new coronavirus. Mr. Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive who helped manage the response to earlier SARS and anthrax outbreaks, told his chief of staff to make sure that the National Security Council was aware.

          This is a very big deal, Mr. Azar told him."

          On 10 Jan China had made public the genetic sequences of the virus which meant that test kits could be made.

          By the end of January China had initiated a unprecedented lockdown on huge areas of the country. Western pundits at the time denounced the lockdown as draconian and an infringement on human rights and added (for good measure) that something like that cannot happen in the "free" West.

          The West spent the whole of February deriding China's response to the virus and questioning China's casualty figures implying that they were too low. They were not observing and learning from the measures that China and its neighbours (HK, Macau,Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan) were taking - namely screening at borders, quarantining, contact tracing, wearing masks, social distancing.

          In March the virus reached Europe and the US they were both caught with their pants down and when the scale of the pandemic hit home the politicians sought to find someone to blame.

          NB In Nov 2019, a US military intelligence report stated that there was a potential pandemic developing in Wuhan. A report that was handed to Trump and he admitted to having not read it.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. hoola Silver badge

    Investing in the future

    This is nothing new, Huawei have been running all sorts of international competitions designed to get students interested in coding and IT. This is how the Chinese work, investing in areas that take time to develop and that are actually useful in the long term.

    Overview of the UK Academic Salon:

    These are the headlines:

     Huawei is once again working with Times Higher Education to create a Salon that will seek to define a vision for the future of UK research and innovation and bring together expertise from the highest levels of business, academia and government.

     At the Salon, Imperial College and Huawei plan to announce a new 5-year, £5 Million long-term partnership.

     The centre piece of this partnership will be the establishment of a Huawei 5G/AI Centre at the Imperial Tech campus in White City. This centre will support the research work of the Data Science Institute (DSI); the Leonardo Centre (Imperial Business School) and the Enterprise Lab amongst other faculties.

     During the Salon there will be a pre-recorded message from Baroness (Nicky) Morgan, (former Secretary of State, DCMS).

    Very few companies in the West do this and for the education system it is a non-starter as we are incapable of planning past the end of the year, yet alone the lifetime of a student.

    In the UK STEM subjects are a real issue because:

    They are expensive to run.

    They are challenging to take part in.

    They are not valued.

    At university level, places are difficult to fill because of a lack of committed students coming out of schools

    This has been going on for years in schools and universities. The current situation with COVID makes it worse as many of these subjects need labs that you cannot provide with online lectures.

    Some big businesses such as Rolls Royce, Airbus GKN do have excellent training schemes although they are in the minority.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Testing Testing

    If we were going to aim evil CV19 5G transmissions anywhere useful I would suggest locating the naughty micro-wave transmitter black-box in Prof PantsDown's office - that will be convincing of its safety once and for all (mind you - if his brain fries could we tell)? Though maybe Prof CountDown is a lizard and lizards will be immune to the death ray according to that Icke chap's inside information.

  9. EnviableOne Silver badge

    Huawei Issues

    there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of opinion being thrown around about them, but no-one has given any hard (or even soft) evidence of any wrongdoing

    HCSEC say their coding is shody, so its imposible to tell the difference between malice and stupidity

    given the credit PRC are getting from everyone, sureley they arent going to interfere with the one brand that bears a unique attachment to them.

    TL;DR put up or shut up where is the evidence.

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