Nokia, Cambridge forge research alliance in U.K.

Cell phone maker's research partnership with university will focus primarily on nanotechnology.

Cell phone maker Nokia and Cambridge University have announced what they say will be a long-term research and development partnership based in the U.K.

According to Tuesday's announcement, Nokia Research Center (NRC) will set up a "research facility" at the university, where work will primarily focus on nanotechnology. Cambridge's Nanoscience Center and the electrical division of the engineering department will be the first university departments to collaborate with the NRC.

"Nanotechnology long ago left science-fiction movies for the laboratory and, more recently, we saw the first commercial applications," Nokia's leader on the collaboration, Tapani Ryhanen, said Tuesday. "The techniques we are developing really bring us a toolkit for working with the processes of nature at a very basic level--the level of molecules--in a safe and controlled way."

"This collaboration both recognizes and enhances Cambridge's global reputation for excellence in science and technology research," said professor Ian Leslie, pro vice chancellor for research at Cambridge University, adding: "One of the greatest advantages to the university is the opportunity to work closely with a recognized worldwide leader in technology products and applications on 'real world' challenges and initiatives."

Nokia has indicated that, while it will send 10 people to the Cambridge facility initially, this number could rise over time.

The partnership could provide a boost for U.K.-based research and development, which took a hit last year when Intel shut down its Cambridge facilities in a cost-cutting drive. That collaboration had seen Intel and Cambridge University work together on a variety of technologies, from photonics to wireless networking.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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