SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks for Sustainable Societies

McKesson Scholarship: McKesson, Cork Institute of Technology and the ADVANCE CRT have formed a partnership to support Women in Technology. Applications by 31st July 2019 here.

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The ADVANCE CRT - What is it?

The ADVANCE CRT is a Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research Training focused on Future Networks and the Internet of Things with applications in sustainable and independent living. ADVANCE will train 120 PhD students, recruited in four annual cohorts of 30 students across the five partner universities, beginning with the academic year 2019/20


We live in a society where ubiquitous, high-speed communication networks enable, and increasingly dominate, our family, social and working lives. These networks enable an ever-increasing range of human-to-machine and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication applications in the Internet of Things. This expanding hyper-connectivity will create new communication, sensing and control services, and forms of interconnectivity and services between people and Things in ways we cannot yet even fully envisage. Two societal pressures drive the need for hyper-connectivity - Urbanisation and Rural Depopulation.

Meeting both the technical and societal challenges of global hyper-connectivity requires multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches. Our vision is to train the next generation of researchers who will seek solutions to the technical and societal challenges of global hyper-connectivity between large numbers of People and Things. We will explore opportunities for a range of novel applications in sustainable and independent living enabled by such networks that will become critically important to sustain large dense cities and alleviate problems of rural depopulation. Given the far-reaching technological, economic, social and personal impacts of hyper-connectivity, our researchers will, in addition to deep competence in their individual disciplines, need understanding of these wider ethical, social and economic aspects. They will need the ability to collaborate with, learn from, and communicate their discipline-specific knowledge with other disciplines and the public who will be the beneficiaries of their collective expertise.

ADVANCE Partnership

The ADVANCE CRT brings together over 50 research supervisors from computer science, electrical and computer engineering, social science, psychology and health science, to stimulate socially-responsible and inclusive creativity and innovation in the field of future networks and the Internet of Things. ADVANCE is a close partnership between five Irish Higher Education Institutions and Irish-based industry. ADVANCE is a rich ecosystem of partner universities involving University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, and TU Dublin and large companies such as Nokia, Intel, DellEMC, u-blox, Vodafone, UTRC, Johnson Controls, JaguarLandRover and indigenous SMEs such as Taoglas, Decawave, Shimmer, Independet Living Ireland and local authorities and NGOs such as Dublin and Cork City Councils, RehabGroup and Enable Ireland.

ADVANCE leverages complimentary research initiatives, particularly the SFI-funded CONNECT Centre for Future Networks. Internationally, we are engaged with a network of research groups from Universities and Research Institutes from around the world that will offer our students placement opportunities, such as Imperial College, TU Eindhoven, RWTH Aachen, University of Toronto, University of Auckland, IMDEA, and CEA.

Accepted students will receive a generous tax free stipend of €18,500 per annum plus travel, equipment and material allowances and a tution fee contribution of €5,500 (fee rate for EU nationals). Applications for the academic year 2019/2020 are now closed. If you wish to express your interest in applying for the academic year 2020/21 please contact us at ( .

ADVANCE Training & Research

Research Programme

ADVANCE’s vision of a hyper-connected world requires a research programme that addresses key challenges in advanced communications and networking, data driven network management, and ICT applications for sustainable communities. These future networks will enable customisation, where capabilities adapt to their users’ needs and locations, be it people, Things, or autonomous systems and services. Their design will need to consider the complex mega-urban environments that place pressure on the social well-being and health of residents and of rural environments that need to support dispersed communities. This raises major challenges and requires new approaches to communication system design. ADVANCE's research programme is focused on:

  • Enabling technologies for future wireless/mobile networks and the Internet of Things,
  • Intelligent and data driven network management and optimisation,
  • Internet of Things applications for sustainable communities and independent living and associated social, privacy and security issues.

Training Programme

The ADVANCE Training Programme aims at developing a broad set of skills in students:

  • Excellent Research Skills
  • Transversal and Cross-Sectoral Skills
  • Societal Skills
  • Discipline-Specific Skills

At the core of the training programme is the student cohort approach. Within each year's cohort and across annual cohorts, students have the opportunity to learn and work together, network, learn from each other, support each other and develop friendships. The training porgramme will be delivered in block delivery through summer and winter schools bringing all student cohorts together, and through distance learning and self-directed learning. ADVANCE creates a Personal Training Plan for each student that includes Student and Supervisor Responsibilities and Expectations, Support Resources, Principles of Research Integrity, and Career Planning.

In addition to the development of skills, students will also take part in industry or partner university placements of between 3 and 6 months. These are an integral, credited part of the training programme as not only are they an important form of experiential learning but also allow students to apply formal learning in the workplace and to interact with both technology-professionals and technology users. Placements also allow students to develop their professional identity, to shape their career plans and to understand why life-long learning is important.


The Centre for Research Training brings together a supervisory team of over 50 very experienced research supervisors from across the five universities involved in the Centre. The team comprises of computer scienties and engineers, electrical and electronic engineers, applied psychologists, social and health scientists, and business innovation experts.

Management Team

The Centre is led by senior academics from the five partner universities:

Prof. Dirk Pesch

Centre Director
University College Cork

Prof. John Barrett

Deputy Director
Cork Institute of Technology

Prof. Siobhan Clarke

Trinity College Dublin

Prof. Cormac Sreenan

University College Cork

Dr. Deirdre Desmond

Maynooth University

Prof. Max Ammann

Co-Lead, Technological University Dublin


The ADVANCE CRT supervisors, including the management team, represent the research themes in the ADVANCE research programme. Below is the list of supervisors currently seeking students. The list includes their institution, areas of research focus and links to their CVs and personal profiles. Supervisers are happy to discuss projects will prospective appliciants and can be contacted by email.

Dr. Maurizio Mancini Multimodal Interfaces; embodied agents; movement analysis/synthesis
Dr. Aisling O'Driscoll Wireless and Mobile Networks; cooperative communication protocols; vehicular & sensor networks
Dr. Paolo Palmieri Privacy; Security; Cryptography
Dr. Nadia Pantidi Smart City and e-democracy; vulnerable populations; digital placemaking
Prof. Dirk Pesch IoT; Wireless & Vehicular Networks; Smart Cities
Dr. Ian Pitt HCI; auditory & speech-based interfaces, interfaces for blind computer-users, eLearning
Prof. Utz Roedig IoT; Security, Wireless Networks
Prof. Cormac Sreenan Wireless Networks; UAVs; Video Streaming
Dr. Ahmed H. Zahran Mobile networking; Multimedia streaming; Intelligent transportation systems
Dr. Haithem Afli Natural Language Processing; Sentiment Analysis; Deep Learning & Machine Translation
Prof. John Barrett
Dr. Olivia Brickley Network management; SDN; Intelligent Transportation Systems
Dr. Con Burns Smart technology for physical activity and healthy living
Dr. Victor Cionca Wireless; Mesh; Networking
Dr. Tara Coppinger Smart technology for physical activity and healthy living
Dr. Breda Kenny Entrepreneurship; Collaborative Innovation; Internationalisation
Dr. Martin Klepal People Behaviour; AI; Human-in-the-Loop
Dr. Alan McGibney IoT Ecosystems; Trusted Networks; Blockchain
Dr. Sean McSweeney Pentesting; Ultrasonics; Acoustics
Dr. Cian O'Neill Smart technology for physical activity and healthy living
Dr. Donna O'Shea Cybersecurity; AI; SDN
Dr. Susan Rea Digital Value Chains (Blockchain); Trusted & Secure Interactions for IoT; Energy Communities
Prof. Irene Sheridan Experiential Learning; Engagement
Dr. Bernd-Ludwig Wenning Wireless networks; vehicular networks; Quality of Service
Dr. Mélanie Bouroche Connected Autonomous Vehicles
Prof. Siobhan Clarke
Prof. Luiz A. DaSilva Wireless Networks; Machine Learning; Radio Virtualisation
Prof. Gavin Doherty Healthcare; Smartphone applications; Mental health
Prof. Linda Doyle Creative Arts Practices; Wireless Networks; Economics & Telecoms
Dr. Ivana Dusparic Multi-agent Systems; Reinforcement Learning; Intelligent Transport Systems
Dr. Lucy Hederman Connected Health; Clinical Decision Support Systems; Data Integration
Dr. Georgios Iosifidis Smartphone applications
Dr. Marco Ruffini Virtualisation of optical access networks; Machine Learning; Convergence of optical, wireless and cloud networks
Dr. Laura Coffey Assistive Technology; Health and Wellbeing; Independent Living
Dr. Deirdre Desmond Psychology; Quality of Life; Participation; Enabling Technology; Person-Technology Interface
Dr. Katarina Domijan Machine Learning; Data/Model Visualization; Survey Research
Dr. John Dooley
Dr. Catherine Hurley Data Visualisation; Machine Learning; Network/Graph Visualisation
Dr. Aphra Kerr Internet of Things; Data Justice; Social Inclusion
Dr. Rebecca Maguire Quality of Life in Chronic Illness; Wellbeing; Decision Making
Prof. Malcolm MacLachlan Assistive Technology; Policy; Systems Thinking
Dr. David Malone Computer Networking; Measurement and Analysis; Security
Dr. Maria Helen Murphy Data Protection; Law and Technology; Ethics 
Dr. Rudi Villing autonomous mobile robotics; Communications and Sensing; Health and Wellbeing
Prof. Max Ammann Antennas; Propagation; Electromagnetics
Dr. Damon Berry Internet of Things; Smart Spaces; Localisation
Dr. Jane Courtney Computer vision; Image processing; Deep learning
Dr. Ruairí de Fréin Decentralized Learning; Network Monitoring; Machine Learning for Sensor Networks
Prof. Mark Davis Wireless Networks; Performance Management; Machine Learning.
Dr. Patrick McEvoy Antennas; Ultra Wideband Systems; Radar
Dr. Susan McKeever Sensor Systems; Environment Monitoring; Machine Learning
Prof. Yuliya Semenova Photonics, Optical Fiber Networks,Fiber Sensors

McKesson, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks and Sustainable Societies (ADVANCE) form a partnership to support Women in Technology.

  • Are you a female graduate in computer science or cognate discipline looking to pursue a PhD?
  • Do you want to make a real contribution in the area of personalised and connected healthcare that will benefit all members of society?
  • Do you want to work in partnership with McKesson a Fortune 10 company?

Huge shortages in female graduates with the necessary skills for the digital-age economy, has led to a big push from industry worldwide to attract more female students to pursue a career in this area.

Leading the charge in Ireland is McKesson, Cork, who are offering an innovative PhD scholarship in Computer Science, in partnership with the SFI Centre for Research Training in Advanced Networks and Sustainable Societies (ADVANCE) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). The primary objective of the Centre for Research Training (ADVANCE) is to train the next generation of doctoral graduates in the field of communications technology that is developed for human and societal benefit. Prof John Barrett, Head of Nimbus, indicated his delight in partnering with McKesson stating “that the female PhD student will have the opportunity to work on a project that combines real-time monitoring, predictive analytics and patient data at scale with the aim of making a real contribution in the area of personalised and connected healthcare that will benefit all members of society”.

The McKesson PhD Scholarship is the first of its kind in the country and is specifically designed to prepare women for leadership and senior technical roles in the industry. As well as the scholarship providing financial assistance, it also offers on-site work placement with McKesson during the programme of study. A mentorship element is also part and parcel of this attractive initiative, giving students the opportunity to learn from the many talented software developers, network analysts and cyber security specialists employed by McKesson Cork.

The supervisory team for the doctoral student will include female academic mentors Dr Donna O’Shea and Dr Susan Rea and colleague Dr Ruairi O’Reilly. Dr Donna O’Shea, Head of Department of Computer Science (acting), welcomed the announcement stating the “McKesson PhD scholarship will provide a female doctoral student with a high level of technical training where she will have a critical role in shaping solutions and software that will underpin the technology and that will influence our society for decades to come.” Dr. Susan Rea, Group Lead at the Nimbus Research Centre at CIT, believes the McKesson PhD scholarship will facilitate a network for mentorship and support that will enable the PhD candidate to achieve their goals and prepare them for a career in computer science.

For further information, please contact Dr. Donna O’Shea, Head of Dept. of Computer Science (acting) at Application deadline is the 31st July 2019.