Strathclyde researcher awarded UK Intelligence Community Fellowship

Building and city scape

Dr Christos Ilioudis from University of Strathclyde is one of nine engineers to be awarded a prestigious UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for his cutting-edge research.

Dr Ilioudis, a Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering, was awarded the grant to advance national security through his work on 5G-based passive sensing and counter measures.

5G telecommunications operate in significantly higher frequency bands compared to previous generation, which such signals especially suitable for passive radar operations.

Dr Ilioudis is investigating how 5G-based passive sensing could exploit surveillance vulnerabilities in public, business and infrastructure, as well as develop countermeasures.

He said: “As current and future telecommunications move into higher bands to meet the modern needs, the operating frequencies and bandwidths become ever more similar to these used for radar operations.

“This project aims to investigate the opportunities of 5G passive sensing but also the potential vulnerabilities due to malicious use.”

Pioneering work

Focusing on areas of basic, unclassified research, the fellowships support pioneering work that can assist the intelligence community, and also provide mentoring support to a new generation of engineers.

Offered by the Government Office for Science and administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering, they provide a vital link between academia and the intelligence community.

Each awardee will be funded for at least two years of their project and mentorship of a Fellow of the Academy, as well an advisor from the Intelligence Community.

Alex van Someren, Chief Scientific Adviser for National Security to HM Government, said: “I am delighted with the variety of technologies and the quality of the 2021 awardees of the UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships programme that the Royal Academy of Engineering manages on my behalf.

“A record nine awards have been made this year in a wide variety of topics. Detection of the use of synthetic biology is the first award of its kind, particularly relevant in light of the current global pandemic. In addition, the importance of detecting unmanned aerial vehicles is reflected in the two awards made in that area.

 “The broader category of detection of radio frequency electromagnetism (5G, measurement intelligence and wireless network fingerprinting), and using electromagnetism as an energy source to power batteries, is of central importance to designing devices for future threat detection.

 “I am looking forward with great anticipation to the outcomes of this cutting-edge research.”