Vision and Programme

The Tommy Flowers Network - TFN

The Network aims to:
  • Create world-class research leaders who can improve the impact of research for both universities and the digital business community in the UK
  • Improve collaboration between academic research and the business community, making sure that research outcomes can be fully exploited for world-leading knowledge economy.
  • Focus on current ICT issues, and multi- and inter-disciplinary research, enabling rapid and effective responses to current and future industry and societal challenges
  • Produce a steady supply of well-rounded ICT post-graduates and post-doctoral researchers with a thorough commercial and operational perspective to complement their technical excellence.

Delivering world-class ICT research in the future will require a new breed of researcher. We need researchers who can collaborate confidently across multiple academic disciplines - and work seamlessly between academia and industry.

That's why we in BT, along with our partners from across the ICT sector, have launched the Tommy Flowers Network. The Network brings the ICT industry and UK academia together to produce the research leaders of the future. These researchers will be equipped to take on the complex challenges facing the ICT sector and help our nation to enrich its world-leading knowledge economy.

BT is a big company but we're not as big as the whole industry and that's why TFN isn't about any one company or any one university, it's about getting together for our common good. The whole thing is hosted at Adastral Park, for free, because this is the natural centre-of-gravity for industrial telecoms research in the country, so it's a no-brainer.

We have named the network after the GPO (General Post Office) engineer Tommy Flowers who worked on the code breaking machines at Bletchley Park during the war and built Colossus. It was an academic/industrial collaboration that delivered real impact: Cambridge graduate Bill Tutte deciphered the Lorenz code, Professor Max Newman saw the potential for mechanisation, and Tommy Flowers created the working machine. We are building on this legacy, developing researchers from all over the country, from both universities and industry to tackle contemporary challenges.

If you want to make the most from collaborative technological research and really understand the ICT industry's challenges then you need look no further than the Tommy Flowers Institute. Join us and make amazing things happen or contact us on

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