Liberty News

New engineering research initiative launches at Liberty’s Bedford facility

June 15, 2017 : Liberty University News Service

Dr. Carl Pettiford (left), chair of Liberty's Department of Engineering; Haiyun Tang, founder and CEO of Adaptrum; Tad Deriso, president & CEO of MBC; and Bob Bailey, executive director of the CAER; cut a ribbon to celebrate the new innovation center. (Photo by Joel Coleman)A new innovation center has launched at the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) facility in Bedford County, which Liberty University recently purchased to grow its research capacity.

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) and Adaptrum announced the official launch of the SOVA Innovation Center for TV White Space Broadband Development on Thursday, which will help deliver research and development (R&D) that will result in cost-effective telecom infrastructure and provide much-needed affordable broadband services in Virginia and beyond. MBC is a nonprofit that promotes economic development in Southern Virginia through the operation of a successful advanced open access fiber optic network, providing wholesale telecommunications transport services, colocation (providing computing services to customer organizations), and tower leasing. Adaptrum is pioneering the use of previously underutilized TV White Space spectrum (unused broadcast signal space).

The new facility, serving as Adaptrum's East Coast R&D and operations home base, will:

     >Drive fundamental advances and applied applications for TV White Space technology.

     >Engage with leading academic institutions focused on TVWS wireless and dynamic spectrum access techniques.

     >Serve as a test bed for new and improved next-generation products.

     >Support products and services for regional customers and projects.

“We are thrilled that such an innovative West Coast technology company chose our region to open their East Coast research and development center,” said Tad Deriso, president & CEO of MBC. “Welcoming pioneering technology companies like Adaptrum into our community directly supports our efforts to transform southern Virginia into an East Coast technology hub.”

When the deal first began to develop, Liberty was not in the picture, Deriso explained. The university’s purchase of the CAER was a pleasant surprise.

“When that was announced, we got really excited because now we are directly tied into what Liberty is doing here and their research staff,” he said. “I think it is better for everyone because now we can take what Liberty has and make this a bigger project than it normally could have been.”

The Center for Advanced Engineering & Research (click image to expand). (Photo by Joel Coleman)MBC and Adaptrum will invest about $1.5 million over the next three years. Partnering with universities, including Liberty and nearby Virginia Tech, which is conducting strong research into wireless technology, will be an integral part of the R&D. (Liberty’s plans for the CAER include developing an energy-focused research campus.)

“We are very much looking forward to working with local universities, like Liberty, and to tap into the talents that you guys have,” said Haiyun Tang, founder and CEO of Adaptrum. This would include opportunities for internships and faculty to engage in advanced work “between research and commercialization.”

This innovative center could also lead to jobs for graduates of Liberty’s School of Engineering & Computational Sciences, which will be moving to the CAER building in 2019.

“We want to recruit local talent, (including) some of (Liberty’s) graduates,” Tang said.

Read more about this initiative in a press release from MBC and Adaptrum.

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