Science Foundation Ireland

Francesco Pilla: Human of CONNECT

Dr Francesco Pilla is a Funded Investigator with CONNECT at University College Dublin. He is coordinator of iScape, a €6 million Horizon 2020 funded project, which aims to improve air quality in European cities.

How did you get to this point in your life?
I think what got me wherever I am now is a curiosity for new things and technologies combined with a strong desire to fix problems. I guess it is something I inherited from my dad and from a childhood spent playing with LEGO!

Is there anything about life that you didn’t expect?
The list of things I didn’t expect in my life is kind of endless; some of them were beautiful surprises, others were more like proper nightmares! I guess this is the beauty of life and what keeps it interesting at all times.

Tell us about an experience that taught you a life lesson. 
I really hope all my experiences are teaching me useful life lessons. It’s funny how you feel you would have an endless list of life lessons to bore your kids with…and then when you are asked the cold question to tell one…

What do you think could be the next defining trend in technology?
The next trend in technology will be tools to make technology itself more democratic and truly accessible and exploitable by non-expert users.

What’s the best piece of life advice you have ever received?
I always remember what my dad used to say to me: “if you want something to be done the right way, do it yourself”…meaning that you need to be more open-minded about other people’s approaches and results when you are working in a team.

Tell us about your research. What do you enjoy most about it?
I enjoy working with people from fields different from my own as I always like to learn different perspectives or approaches to solve problems. At the moment I’m greatly enjoying playing with LEGOs with kids to co-design with them solutions to improve air quality in cities as part of the activities of the iSCAPE Dublin Living Lab.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like sports: rowing and running. I love cooking dinners for my family and friends and obviously preparing ice-creams as any good Italian! I also like to read fantasy books…I think I read the whole Harry Potter series already twice.

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.

Humans of CONNECT
SFI Partner Logos SFI Partner Logos