University reaches for the stars with plans for space research centre

University of Bradford is to get its very own space research centre, thanks to a multi-million pound donation.

Dr Venkata ‘Murthy’ Renduchintala has donated the money to kickstart the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI.

He studied at the university from 1983-1991, during which time he gained a BEng degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, a PhD in Satellite Communications and a Masters degree in Business Administration.

The planned facility aims to be recognised as the centre of excellence in Space AI Technology to advance research and to stimulate innovation in the area of distributed computing, automation and information technologies.

It will also exploit the latest artificial intelligence and embedded technologies for applications to space systems.

The centre’s longer-term ambition is to establish the Yorkshire & Humber region as “the space technology anchor”, through collaboration with industries, governments, regional organisations and academia.

The facility will establish:

  • Space/satellite technology research and teaching laboratories, housed in Horton D Building, with facilities to support nanosat development, a satellite ground station, a telecommand centre, as well as other electronics equipment and software to stimulate innovation in both research and teaching.
  • A chair in Space Systems Engineering, to provide additional teaching and research expertise in this field
  • A postdoctoral research assistant position.
  • A new lecturing post to support the delivery of the MSc programme as well as research growth.
  • A dedicated business development manager role, to maximise the potential for partnerships and income generation activity.
  • And a postgraduate scholarship programme to complement the launch of an MSc programme in Space Systems Engineering, due in September 2022.

Renduchintala said: “I am delighted to be able make this donation to my Alma Mater.

“Whatever I have been able to achieve professionally thus far has been built on the solid academic foundation the university provided me with.

Dr Venkata Renduchintala

“It therefore seems both fitting and appropriate that I participate in helping the leadership of the university as they take this institute into important fields of research and learning that look towards our future.

“I am really excited by the ambitions we have for the centre and am confident the research it conducts will be impactful.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, vice-chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “This is a major partnership for the university and one we are particularly excited about.

“We are incredibly grateful to our alumnus Dr Renduchintala for his most generous contribution, and also for the new opportunities this will bring to students at our university.

“This investment means the university will be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that will be generated as a result of an increase in space exploration and to play a role in the creation of cutting-edge technologies.

“This will also act as a stimulus for local companies and enable us to forge new and innovative partnerships across the world.”

Renduchintala has pursued a distinguished career in developing and manufacturing wireless communications, System-on-Chip and Internet of Things technologies – working latterly as the chief engineering officer for Intel Corporation.

Currently, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Accenture plc and as a member of the Advisory Councils for 2 Engineering Schools within the University of California Academic system.

Professor Fun Hu, Professor of wireless communications and the centre director, said: “The generous donation from Murthy has given the university a solid foundation to step out firmly to explore with the rest of the world in this space era.

“It is an exciting venture and has created a lot of enthusiasm around the university and people with whom I am working.

“As a university, the centre will ensure that our researchers and students are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge that are sought after by the space and related industry.”