Vietnamese professor wins Canadian government research funding

By Khanh Linh   November 30, 2023 | 02:00 am PT
Vietnamese professor wins Canadian government research funding
Professor Duong Quang Trung (C) receives the Canada Excellence Research Chair award from the Canadian Minister of Citizens’ Services Terry Beech (L) and Ted Hewitt, Chair of the CERC Steering Committee. Photo courtesy of Duong Quang Trung
A Vietnamese professor in Canada has been named one of 34 Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERCs) and granted a fund of CAD$8 million (US$5.89 million) for his research.

Duong Quang Trung, 44, full Professor at Memorial University, Canada and Chair Professor at Queen's University Belfast, U.K., received the fund for his study of the next generation of communications technology at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

The CERCs program by the Government of Canada awards international and Canadian researchers and their teams either $CAD8 million or $CAD4 million over eight years to establish ambitious research programs at Canadian universities.

This year, the program funded 34 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERCs) at 18 Canadian post-secondary institutions a total $CAD248 million.

The investment will allow the chairs to establish research facilities in Canada and contribute to their institutions’ pursuit of excellence in research, train young scholars and scientists, and develop a new generation of world-class talent.

According to the CERCs, the next generation communication technology—the sixth generation, or 6G, "is facing major challenges."

A primary concern is to support the massive number of wireless and mobile devices requiring "ultrasecurity, ultrahigh accuracy, very high capacity, ultra-reliability and very low latency functionalities," which continue to generate ever-growing traffic for ubiquitous communications.

Trung will address those challenges by developing novel communication technologies employing new wireless optimization and design, AI-empowered physical communications and quantum machine learning to generate "wireless without limit" connectivity that guarantees high quality-of-service for a massive number of connected devices.

"Transiting from an era of connected machines to connected people and connected intelligence will be a key enabler in achieving the full-scale digital transformation," Trung was quoted in an article published on a website of Memorial University in mid-November.

"My research program will create a prompt response to sustainable digital infrastructure through the creation of sustainable next-generation communications technologies that have a potential impact on Canada’s science, technology and innovation priority research areas including health care, smart cities, rural areas, smart agriculture and climate resilience."

The university’s President Neil Bose said he was the first at the school to be named a CERC.

"Memorial has significant strengths in telecommunications, information and communication technology (ICT), which represent strategic and critical areas of research for the institution. As an outstanding and skillful leader in his field, Duong’s visionary research will strengthen our growing international reputation as an innovative leader in advanced ICT," Bose said in a CERC's statement.

Trung is a native of Hoi An City in central Vietnam. He graduated as a Bachelor of Engineering at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology in 2002.

He got a master’s degree in Engineering in Kyung Hee University in 2005 and a PhD degree in Telecommunications at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden in 2012, both via full scholarships.

In 2013, he was appointed to the rank of professor at Queen's University Belfast, one of the top 24 universities in the U.K.

Professor Trung is the only person in the U.K. to be awarded both prestigious research awards from the Royal Academy of Engineering, including Research Fellowship (2016) and Research Chair (2020).

He also received the Newton Prize for outstanding research from the British government in 2017.

In 2022 alone, the research group led by Professor Trung and a number of other groups will be funded by the British government with 12 million pounds (US$15.2 million) to develop technologies for new, flexible and capable mobile networks.

He was also honored three times for best research at the world's largest mobile information conference, the IEEE Global Communications Conference in 2016, 2019 and 2022.

He also collaborated with several universities in Vietnam to promote studies in the field.

"Vietnam has many strategies and mechanisms to promote research, development of standards and commercialization of mobile information services. Hopefully through the program, my research group will have the opportunity to cooperate and contribute to this activity in Vietnam," he said.

The CERCs program supports Canadian universities in their efforts to build on Canada's growing reputation as a global leader in research and innovation. The program is considered one of the most prestigious and generous available globally.

It aims at attracting and retaining global talent for Canada.

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