Adastral Park head Tim Whitley to become BT Industrial Visiting Professor at University of Essex

Prof Tim Whitley, the new BT Industrial Visiting Professor at the University of Essex, right, with t

Prof Tim Whitley, the new BT Industrial Visiting Professor at the University of Essex, right, with the university's vice-chancellor, Prof Anthony Forster. - Credit: Archant

The head of BT’s Adastral Park research and development campus at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, is to become a visiting professor at the University of Essex.

Tim Whitley, managing director of research and innovation at BT, and the telecoms group’s regional director for the East of England, has been named as the first BT Industrial Visiting Professor at the university’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

In the role, Prof Whitley will be able to share his experiences of industrial research and the fast moving worlds of software and telecommunications innovation, while also fostering further research collaborations between BT and the university.

He is already familiar with the university’s expertise in computer science and electronic engineering, having completed a PhD in telecommunications there in 1996.

Prof Whitley, from Felixstowe, said: “BT has a strong commitment to research partnerships and to supporting the East of England region. This role further strengthens our long-standing links with the University of Essex.

“I am really looking forward to working closely with the university, who are also a partner in the recently launched Tommy Flowers Institute, which will develop the research leaders of the future.”

Prof Anthony Forster, vice-chancellor at the university, said: “Tim is a world-renowned figure in research and an outstanding Essex alumnus.

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“The University of Essex and BT have always enjoyed a close relationship with many joint research projects and PhD students working on projects that not only push the boundaries of knowledge but also address real-world problems and applications of science and technology.

“This new role will hopefully allow us to forge even closer links and open new opportunities to work with BT in the future.”

Professor Whitley joined BT in 1981 as an apprentice engineer in Wrexham, north Wales and, after sponsored study at university, joined the optical physics division of BT’s research department at Martlesham Heath.

Over the next 10 years he conducted experimental research into optical fibre amplifiers and lasers, and their application in high-speed communications systems, and authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers.

On leaving the research department he held roles in technology consultancy, technical architecture, techno-economic analysis and the group technology office. In 2007 he was appointed BT group strategy director and in 2011 became managing director of research and innovation, adding the role of managing director for Adastral Park in 2012.