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ITU launches campaign to attract 150 Academia members for its 150th anniversary

In 2015, ITU will celebrate its 150th anniversary under the theme "Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of Innovation". Recognizing the role of academia in innovation, ITU is launching a campaign with the aim of attracting a total of 150 Academia members in 2015.

Some 80 academic institutions from across the world have joined ITU since 2011, following the decision of the Guadalajara Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010 to enable universities and research establishments to join ITU in their own right, subject to approval by their national administration.

A win-win partnership

Beyond the purely technical interest that academic and research institutions have in the work of ITU, their participation gives them a unique opportunity to contribute their expertise to solving the regulatory challenges of broader public policies related to information and communication technologies (ICT). This surely augurs well for the development of mutually beneficial and constructive partnerships with manufacturers, operators and public authorities in the field of ICT.

ITU's activities span cutting-edge technologies. Working with the Union therefore gives academic and research institutions multiple opportunities to increase their technical knowledge. Looking to the future, membership of ITU enables these institutions to contribute to global standards and best practices.

For example, a contribution from Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany, on video quality was approved as an ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU–T) Recommendation in March 2013. Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications has, since 2011, submitted more than 50 contributions to ITU–T Study Group 13 (Future networks including cloud computing, mobile and next-generation networks).

Academia members can also become editors or rapporteurs of ITU documents. Experts from Universidad del País Vasco (the University of the Basque Country), Spain, regularly submit contributions to ITU–T Study Groups 11 (Signalling requirements, protocols and test specifications) and 12 (Performance, quality of service and quality of experience).

High-profile ITU events

Participating in high-profile ITU events helps academic and research institutions raise their profile globally. ITU–T leads the organization of our annual flagship Kaleidoscope event for academia, technically co-sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Kaleidoscope brings together researchers, government and industry to share their views on future information and communication technology networks and services. Academia can submit paper proposals through the conference double-blind, peer-review process.

Selected papers are published in the proceedings and in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, with top papers being included in a special edition of IEEE Communications Magazine. Waseda University, Japan, for example, has been particularly active in the Kaleidoscope conferences. The university is on the Kaleidoscope's Steering Committee. Two of its PhD students presented and won the best paper award at Kaleidoscope 2011; one PhD student presented at Kaleidoscope 2013; and two PhD students presented at Kaleidoscope 2014.

International Girls in ICT Day, celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in April, has also attracted the interest of academia. For example, in Malaysia, the ITU-UUM (Universiti Utara Malaysia) Asia-Pacific Centre of Excellence for Rural ICT Development celebrated International Girls in ICT Day on 24 April 2014. The event was attended by more than 260 female students. This one-day programme of activities received positive feedback from the students, who felt really excited at the prospect of becoming ICT experts in the future.

Sharing expertise

ITU membership not only allows academic and research institutions to share their expertise, but also gives them access to training and specialized seminars, as well as to world-leading ICT statistics.

ITU's Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU–D) has more than 60 Centres of Excellence designed to build capacity in all regions of the world, many of them in partnership with academic institutions. These centres provide highly specialized ICT-related training for policy-makers, regulators, industry and academia.

Academia members are interested in contributing to and learning from ITU. For example, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) Director's Ad hoc Group on Education about Standardization was established on the basis of a proposal from Denmark's Aalborg University to the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group in 2012. Experts from this university are active in the group. The university also co-organized and hosted a workshop on standards education in October 2012. Another example is the work of Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), United States, in co-organizing and chairing an ITU workshop on "Internet of Things — Trends and Challenges in Standardization" in February 2014 at ITU headquarters.

Publishing articles in ITU News is a way of sharing expertise with a wide readership, and several Academia members — for example Georgia Tech and Brazil's Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Telecomunicações — have contributed papers. Waseda University coordinated the publication of 13 articles by authors from Academia members in the December 2013 edition of ITU News themed, "Innovating for society". Beyond sharing knowledge, such publications also raise the profile of the institutions concerned.

Academia and innovation

Universities train the engineers and business people who will shape the future of the information and communication technology sector. ITU engages with this group of innovative thinkers, builders and change-makers from all parts of the world to help the entire membership update their policy and regulatory regimes, as well as technical standards, to reflect emerging trends.

Through research and development activities, and partnerships with industry to commercialize new ideas, academia plays an essential role in innovation. Being part of ITU brings academia into a world forum where they can engage in global and regional debates.

Remote participation

Most ITU study groups have some form of remote participation, so it is now possible for country experts to participate in the technical work of the Union without having to incur travel expenses. By strengthening remote access, ITU aims to widen participation in its activities, especially among under-represented developing and least-developed countries. In a bold move, the Government of Argentina has announced that it will fund, for a limited period, Academia membership for some of the country's universities — 17 universities have already registered for this support.

Looking ahead

Academia members can strengthen ITU in leveraging the power of telecommunications and information and communication technologies to continue the quest for knowledge, innovation and prosperity. The ITU platform allows academic and research institutions to participate in the development of global standards, build relationships with regulators and industry from around the world.

A recent example is the ITU Academy event on "Fostering Innovation and Partnerships in Human Capacity Building: Enhanced Engagement of Academia in the International Telecommunication Union", held in Prague in April 2014. At this meeting, Academia members and the ITU Academy agreed on a plan to forge stronger collaborative relationships in capacity building. The plan envisages the joint development and delivery of training programmes, as well as awarding internationally recognized accreditation for some of the programmes on offer.

By strengthening the participation of Academia in our work today, we are expanding the horizons and potential of our Union for decades to come.

For more details visit :https://itunews.itu.int 

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