Intel is closing its lab at Cambridge University in December, researchers learned this week.

The lab in Cambridge 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 programme which started earlier this year, said Chris Hogg, an Intel spokesman.

But it won't diminish the firm's focus on future technologies, he said. "Long-term research is still an essential part of Intel's technology pipeline," Hogg claimed.

The lab will close at the beginning of December. Hogg couldn't say how many staff work at the centre.

Intel announced that it would open the lab in March 2003 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 EU (European Union).

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

Cambridge is a hub in Europe for chip research and design, and is home to Arm Ltd and CSR PLC, as well as other research facilities for worldwide chip companies.

Faced with strong competition from AMD, Intel earlier this year began a broad restructuring programme including total layoffs of about 10,500 people.