Auburn chosen to participate in NSF wireless research consortium

Published: Oct 9, 2007 2:10:47 PM
Media Contact: Cheryl Cobb,, 334.844.2220

Prathima Agrawl

Prathima Agrawal

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $250,000 grant to Auburn University to join a consortium of universities forming Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technologies (WICAT). Prathima Agrawal, Samuel Ginn Distinguished professor and director of the Wireless Engineering Research and Education Center (WEREC), is the principal investigator on the five-year grant, during which the Auburn site will participate in wireless research on cross-layer optimization of coexisting systems. Other universities in the consortium include Polytechnic University in New York, University of Virginia and Columbia University.

"Auburn is the first and currently the only university in the nation that offers an undergraduate degree program in wireless engineering," said Agrawal. "Given that uniqueness, combined with the resources offered by WEREC, NSF could not have found a better place for conducting fundamental and advanced wireless research."

WICAT is an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) whose mission is to conduct research that is of interest to both the industry and the university with which it is involved. The centers rely primarily on the involvement of graduate students in their projects, thus developing students who are knowledgeable in industrially relevant research. Research at the Auburn site will include wireless system design, wireless networking and wireless applications in fields such as cell phones, wireless internet, robotics, intelligent vehicular communications, homeland security, disaster recovery and space research.

To participate in the I/UCRC program, NSF requires universities to have industrial partners as sponsors for research conducted at centers. In addition to the grant, the site uses funding from industry and government agencies on a yearly membership basis. Although the program at Auburn is in its early stages, half a dozen sponsor members have already enlisted.