Connecting the world’s leading digital research centres

The pace and scale of change in digital technology demands major intercontinental collaboration.

The big issues

In a rapidly evolving digital and globalised society, how do you share information and test systems on a sufficiently global scale?

How do you access the necessary computing power for almost-unimaginably data-intensive research?

How do you plan to securely test cutting-edge or sensitive technologies such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence when you don't know in advance what infrastructure might be required?

And how do you meaningfully and reliably experiment with enormous and potentially highly impactful societal changes that could affect the lives of millions of people?

Our response

We're part of the Fabric Across Borders (FAB) partnership, a $3 million grant that extends the National Science Foundation's cyberinfrastructure testbed – already the largest in the US – to four of the most pre-eminent scientific institutions in Europe and Asia.

FAB creates a configurable global network connecting digital scientific resources at each site and enabling large-scale research into cyberinfrastructure. This worldwide laboratory utilises some of the most powerful scientific instruments on the planet and provides a unique opportunity to pool knowledge with other world-leading researchers while testing emerging innovations in a secure environment.

The University of Bristol was selected for this prestigious collaboration thanks to our existing Smart Internet Lab infrastructure and our pioneering expertise in sociotechnical research - a key area of focus for BDFI.

The benefits

For us, this three-year project offers the chance to access a vast, powerful network to explore how cities, communities and citizens might use and interact with advanced network services. Through our existing Smart Cities and Connected Communities collaborations, we can work with the latest technologies and foremost researchers on a grand scale.

Our mission is to transform the way digital technologies are created so that they promote inclusive, prosperous and sustainable futures for all. The joint research we conduct through the FAB testbed will help us address complex, critical scientific and societal challenges as they emerge.


  • Professor Dimitra Simeonidou 


  • University of Illinois
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Kentucky
  • Energy Sciences Network
  • Clemson University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Tokyo
  • CERN
  • University of Amsterdam


Project: Fabric Across Borders

Funded by: National Science Foundation

Want to find out what we’ve been up to in the past year?

Download the BDFI Impact Report (PDF, 7,156kB)

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