6G Research and Innovation Cluster

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has selected four hubs across Germany to conduct research on the upcoming mobile communications generation 6G. The goal is to jointly develop innovations for the telecommunications technologies of the future. Under this initiative, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) will be coordinating the "6G Research and Innovation Cluster (6G-RIC)" research hub, which will receive 70 million euros in funding from the BMBF. Starting in August 2021, the participating scientists will drive research on the future technology 6G.

The digital sovereignty of wireless communication technologies is crucial to ensure data security and open up global market opportunities in the digitization of various industries. This is increasingly evident in the current discussion about the 5th generation of mobile communications (5G).

In light of these developments, the BMBF has issued a call for proposals entitled "6G Research Hubs; Platform for Future Communication Technologies and 6G", which aims to bundle national research activities in order to lay the technological foundations for future mobile communications generations. The main focus lies on technologies and key components that are developed and manufactured in Germany and Europe in order to achieve technological sovereignty and to ensure data security.

The research initiative "6G Research and Innovation Cluster (6G-RIC)", which is funded by the call and coordinated by Fraunhofer HHI, pursues the goal of developing sixth-generation mobile communications systems across all technological boundaries. The 6G-RIC consortium consists of a supra-regional association of eleven universities. Among them are TU Berlin, TU Braunschweig, TU Chemnitz, TU Darmstadt, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Universität Passau, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Berlin and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Five non-university research institutions are also involved, including the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Society, the German Aerospace Center, the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz Institute for Highest Frequency Technology and the Leibniz Institute for Innovative Microelectronics.

"Within the 6G-RIC consortium, we can contribute our expertise in several research fields from fundamental research to implementation: Mobile Communications, Artificial Intelligence, and Optical Data Transmission and Compression," said Prof. Slawomir Stanczak, coordinator of the Hub. "By bringing together experienced, interdisciplinary partners in the research hub, we can strengthen Germany's position in international initiatives on 6G and position ourselves as a pioneer in the development of the communications technologies of the future."

A total of around 50 research partners from science and industry are involved in the four hubs. They are paving the way for the 6G research initiative in Germany, which was just launched by the BMBF.

Fraunhofer IZM is working on the manipulation of high-frequency waves for the 6th generation of mobile communications. It is investigating the interaction both in the package and in the radio channel and is pursuing approaches to control wave propagation by means of specially designed meta-surfaces.


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