by Inés Teresa-Palacio
The University of Southampton is one of the top 15 research universities in the UK and is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world (2012 QS World University Rankings). It is a founder member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading research universities in the UK and is part of the Worldwide Universities Network, engaging in collaboration and exchange agreements with some of the world’s leading universities. The University of Southampton has around 22,000 students of which over 5,000 are international from more than 130 different countries. It has eight faculties covering a wide range of subject areas: from humanities, art and social sciences, to biology, chemistry, electronics and computer science, engineering, health sciences, medicine, mathematics, oceanography, environmental sciences, optoelectronics, physics and astronomy.
Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), which is part of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, is one of the world’s largest and most successful electronics and computer science departments, with more than 60 years of development in leading edge technology. It has a global reputation for computer science, agent technologies, web science, biometrics, open access, digital libraries, nanofabrication, wireless communications, energy harvesting and pervasive computing. ECS contains six research groups, an IT Innovation Centre, 100 academic staff, 120 research staff and 270 PhD students. ECS also plays a major role in two of the University’s Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) – the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation and Web Science. Both DTCs offer four-year postgraduate programmes in these specialist areas enabling students to work effectively across disciplines and helping them to develop the skills they need to address some of society’s biggest problems.
Southampton is ranked first in the UK for Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and we are consistently placed in the top 10 places in the UK for Computer Science and IT. ECS researchers achieved exceptional success in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Computer Science was ranked joint second in the UK for the quality of its research, with 85 per cent of its research work receiving either the top 4* rating (defined as ‘world leading’) or the 3* rating (‘internationally excellent’). In Electronics and Electrical Engineering (in which ECS was assessed jointly with the University's Optoelectronics Research Centre), ECS (and the ORC) came second in the ‘medals’ tables, with 42 researchers rated as achieving research of either world-leading or internationally excellent quality. We are also one of only a handful of universities to receive the prestigious title Regius Professor, an honour bestowed by The Queen. The rare professorship marks our excellence in the field of Computer Science and reflects our exceptionally high quality of teaching and research.
ECS benefits from state-of-the-art facilities, including the Mountbatten Complex (one of the world’s leading cleanroom laboratory complexes for materials and device research in diverse fields ranging from electronics to photonics and bio-nanotechnology) and the High Voltage Laboratory (one of only a handful of similar facilities in Europe that provide the high-level testing and research facilities required by electricity supply companies).
“I am very excited that the University of Southampton is joining the ERCIM network,” says Professor Dame Wendy Hall who is representing the university in the ERCIM General Assembly. “Over the years we have hugely benefitted from the international networks that we have been part of, including the World Wide University Network and the Web Science Trust international network of research laboratories. More recently we have formed a strategic partnership with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaf through the SoFWIReD (Southampton Fraunhofer Web Science, Internet Research & Development) project. It is a natural step for us to join the ERCIM network, which represents some of the best computing research laboratories in Europe and enables the development of networks of excellence to tackle the grand challenges in our subject today, which require big teams working collaboratively across disciplinary and geographical boundaries”.
Professor Dame Wendy Hall, ERCIM General Assembly representative
Leslie Carr, ERCIM General Assembly substitute
University of Southampton, UK