Nokia and the University of Cambridge in the UK have agreed to collaborate in several areas of long-term research, beginning with nanotechnology.

The Finnish handset maker will establish a research facility, initially with a team of 10 scientists, at the university's West Cambridge campus and work with several departments, including the Nanoscience Centre and the Electrical Division of the Engineering Departments, the company said.

Nokia scientists will focus initially on nanotechnology, a branch of science and engineering devoted to the design of extremely small electronic devices and circuits built from individual atoms and molecules. Space has become a precious commodity in compact mobile phones already packed with advanced functions, such as digital cameras, music players, mobile TV and cashless payment.

A joint steering committee established by Nokia and Cambridge will review ongoing work and select new projects.

Nokia joins several other high-tech companies seeking to take advantage of the scientific know-how available at the nearly 800-year-old University of Cambridge, which boasts more than 80 Nobel Price laureates. Microsoft has established its European research and development (R&D) centre at the prestigious university and Hitachi also has an R&D centre on the campus.