Intel will close its lab at Cambridge University in December, researchers learned on this week.

The Cambridge-based UK lab is one of four that Intel runs in collaboration with universities to work on long-term projects, and the only such facility outside the US.

Researchers in Cambridge focused on wireless and optical networking and technology to support distributed applications.

The closure is part of a company-wide cost-cutting program begun earlier this year, said Chris Hogg, an Intel spokesman.

However, he said: “Long-term research is still an essential part of Intel's technology pipeline.”

The lab will close in the beginning of December. But Hogg couldn't say how many staff working at the centre would be affected.

In March 2003 Intel announced that it would open the lab with a staff of 20 to 25 researchers. At the time, lab researchers said that the facility would offer Intel a way to collaborate closely with European researchers and participate in projects funded by the European Union.

Intel's three other US-based university labs are at the University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and the University of Washington in Seattle.

Faced with strong competition from competitive chipmaker, AMD Intel began a broad restructuring program including 10,500 staff redundancies earlier this year.