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Universities and colleges wanting to use the Internet of Things (IoT) will get affordable access to this technology under a collaboration between Jisc and Sigfox network operator WND UK. 

WND UK, which operates Sigfox's low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology in the UK and Latin America, is collaborating with Jisc to enable universities and colleges to run IoT technology on a dedicated network with low set-up costs.

WND UK is seeking universities and colleges across the UK to partner with Sigfox by agreeing to install base stations on their campus. It has offered to provide free kit to interested institutions.

Sigfox's network allows connected devices such as sensors and vehicle equipment to communicate small amounts of data over large distances using tiny amounts of power. Because of their low power consumption, these remote sensors can run for many years on a single battery and are even safer and more secure than standard wireless networks.

Creating digitally intuitive campuses

IoT enables new, disruptive services and solutions in areas such as asset tracking, the smart environment and smart cities. Some universities already use IoT in libraries and others are exploring how this could be adopted across their estates. The technology would provide a modern experience that responds to student interactions to help make campuses more digitally intuitive - an integral part of Jisc's education 4.0 vision to transform education through advanced technologies.

Some 90% of the UK's population and 56% of its area can currently access the Sigfox network through more than 1,800 base stations. Current partners already include a number of universities as well as E.ON, Thames Water and local authorities. 

WND UK will provide 100 free Sigfox subscriptions per year, per approved site, for the duration of  agreements with universities and colleges. Any interested in taking part should contact WND UK directly to check coverage and make arrangements for installation.

The collaboration follows an agreement earlier this year with The Things Network (TTN), provider of another global network for IoT devices, which allowed its community network server to run on the Janet Network infrastructure.

Sue Attewell, Jisc's head of change - research and development, said:

"We want to see a campus experience that meets students' needs and prepares them for the fourth industrial revolution and beyond.

"Many of our members including Cambridge University, South West College, Newcastle University, Edinburgh College and The Open University are already using IoT in innovative ways.

"We hope by working with Sigfox we can encourage more universities to take on the opportunity to easily use this emerging technology to transform teaching, learning and the physical campus experience."

Tim Harris, chief executive of WND UK, said:

"There are so many innovative ideas about how Internet of Things technologies could be used, and we think universities and colleges could help to unlock some of these.

"We hope that by offering the opportunity to access Sigfox equipment and infrastructure at a low cost through Jisc, staff and students will be inspired to use this technology to improve the university experience."

To express an interest in this project, please email WND UK (network-uk@wndgroup.io).

SCONUL, Jisc Collections and RLUK have contributed information and funding to a new report that shows how universities are using copyright licences to support teaching and learning. 

The research, commissioned by the Universities UK, Guild HE and the HE Copyright Negotiation and Advisory Committee (CNAC), informed licensing negotiations between the UUK on behalf of universities, and the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA). It also brings more clarity around the use of the CLA licences and the terms of the Higher Education Licence.

A comparison of the educational copyright regime in other countries is included in the report, along with a list of the types of material which are scanned under the CLA Licence. The research findings show that the licences are mostly used by university staff making copies of books or text in digital formats to use in teaching and learning.

The report also explores the trends in usage of the licence by institution. Twenty institutions can be considered heavy users of the licence, however, usage of the licence in the HE sector as a whole has plateaued. It appears that the increasing availability of open access materials has, to date, had a minimal impact on how institutions use the CLA Licence.

Research for the report was carried out by Jane Secker, senior lecturer at City University of London, Chris Morrison, copyright and licensing compliance officer at the University of Kent and Elizabeth Gadd, research policy manager (publications) at Loughborough University.

Read a full copy of the report (pdf).

Jisc is supporting independent thinktank Demos to investigate how modern technology such as artificial intelligence, robotics and other emerging technologies will affect the UK's world-leading research sector. 

The interim Demos report will provide ideas and predictions to inform policies and strategies shaping future research, also referred to as 'Research 4.0'.  

Matthew Dovey, Jisc's head of e-infrastructure strategy comments:

"Rapidly advancing technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, internet of things and augmented reality shift the way we interact with the world and have the potential to radically reform the research lifecycle. The Demos report will give us a glimpse of how research 4.0 might look and how we can best support our members to future proof their work"  

Jisc and Demos will jointly present the report at the Conservative party conference this autumn.  

The report findings will support Jisc in realising its vision for the UK to be the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world. The outcomes will inform the development of Jisc's technology solutions for its members and help shape advice and practical assistance on digital technology. 

Jisc is on the look out for 30 students currently studying at college or university in the UK to join its student partners project. 

Jisc student partners will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas on how to better education and learning experience. Their involvement will help Jisc to understand what technology and digital skills are important in their education and research.

To apply, candidates must be a current student (from September 2019 to June 2020) and aged 18 or over on 1 September 2019.

Caitlin Bloom, who runs Jisc's student partners project, explained:

"Students are the experts in their own education, as they experience learning first hand every day.

"We would like to work in partnership with a range of students to ensure our priorities match the learning and research tools that are needed for current and future students to succeed.

"Our student partners get involved in all sorts of exciting opportunities, including attending our flagship annual edtech event, Digifest. They will have the chance to present or join panel discussions, take part in social media activity, record podcasts or provide comment for the media."

Interested in taking the next steps?

Students interested in joining Jisc should contact studentpartners@jisc.ac.uk and Caitlin Bloom will answer queries.

The application deadline is 20 September 2019 and a shortlist will be invited to phone interviews shortly after.

OpenAthens has launched this award to inspire publishers across the globe to invest resource into developing the best user journey to content.

The leading single sign-on provider is calling for applications from online publishers demonstrating how they have put the needs and experience of users at the heart of changes to digital services.

The deadline for applications is Monday 30 September 2019, with a shortlist announced in February and the winner named at the OpenAthens Conference 2020 in March.

Librarians and end users will lead the initial round of voting. The shortlist will be compiled by a panel of information industry experts, including Jisc's senior digital content and UX manager, Richard West and Andrew Preistner, trainer and consultant from UX in Libraries.

The newly established award demonstrates OpenAthens' ongoing commitment to the evolution of the information industry and providing simple access to knowledge for the benefit of all.

Find out more about the award and submit an entry.