Science Foundation Ireland

Kanika Sharma: Human of CONNECT

Kanika Sharma is a PhD researcher at CONNECT in TSSG in Waterford Institute of Technology, where she is investigating ‘Service and Resource Management for Intelligent Transport Systems’.

How did you get to this point in your life?
I am an Electronics and Communication Engineer and had a flexible curriculum in my undergraduate college – The LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur, – in India. I had the option to take courses in Computer Science and got very interested in Computer Networks, Wireless Networks, and Probability Theory and Stochastic Practices. I then started as a Junior Research Fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, working on sensor networks project. The deliverables included a working prototype along with mentoring students in their projects. I then decided to pursue a PhD in Ireland as there were diverse opportunities for applied research with industry partners.

Is there anything about your life journey that you didn’t expect?
I was told that there will be more failure in research than success but I was not prepared for the criticism one receives as a researcher. I was also unaware of how far-sighted one needs to be to identify research challenges that will stay relevant a few years down the line.

Is there any moment along the way that taught you a valuable life lesson?
Few rejections taught me that any kind of feedback will make you reflect on your work and help you proceed further in your PhD study.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the diverse challenges in my work. My research entails estimating available vehicle resource capacity in urban centers, choosing vehicles based on their mobility patterns, and also building applications that can benefit from such a model. I also enjoy reading and getting inspired by research being carried out around the world. There is very interesting work being carried out on distributed deep learning-based models for object detection for surveillance in smart cities.

What is the most challenging element of your work?
The challenge of placing services on moving infrastructure makes my work unique and interesting but it also brings up challenges like working in a very dynamic and unstable network. I also find it challenging to find simple and implementable solutions to difficult problems.

What do you think about life in Ireland?
My first impression of Ireland is based on the amazing support and help I received from my supervisors and our team in TSSG, WIT. It was very easy to settle here as I received great guidance and support within our group.

Is there a personal experience that changed how you saw the world?
This year has been challenging for a lot of people. This time has taught me to be resilient and to show up and ask for help in really difficult times.

Finally, what piece of life advice would you give to someone interested in a STEM career?
Stay consistent in your endeavor and don’t let failures stop you. It is also crucial to read voraciously on diverse and interdisciplinary topics out of your own field of research.

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