Science Foundation Ireland

Erika Fonseca wins Intel bursary

Erika Fonseca, a CONNECT PhD researcher at Trinity College Dublin, has been awarded an Intel Postgraduate Bursary Award.

The Intel Postgraduate Bursary Award is open to Master’s students and PhD researchers in their final year of study in certain disciplines in Trinity.

Erika’s work focuses on how drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)) can be controlled by the 5G mobile phone network.

“At present, drones can only be controlled for a few km distance from a pilot on the ground,” explains Erika. “If the full potential of drones is to be realised, the cellular network needs to be able to provide connectivity, allowing drones to fly to large distances while being responsive to the mobile phone network.

“My research explores the challenges that a connected UAV brings to a communications network, and I have developed a Deep Q Learning (DQN)-based algorithm to assist with mobility management.”

Dr Ivana Dusparic, who is co-supervising Erika’s PhD, welcomed the news:

“I’m delighted that Erika’s research has been supported with this bursary. Her work is at the cutting edge of future technologies: applying deep learning to the control of UAVs in order to unlock new applications and possibilities. This is an exciting research area, and Erika is making a strong contribution. Erika is also a great role model for women in STEM, and this success should encourage others to consider careers in this field.”

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.