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Research Associate - Optical Networks Group

Combination of ONG projects - INSIGHT: Introducing Insight into the Abstraction of Optical Network Infrastructures and UNLOC: Unlocking the capacity of optical communications

A position exists for a researcher at Research Associate level, to work on physical layer aspects of high-speed optical fibre communication systems and networks. The position is currently available from 1st August 2017 and is funded until 31 March 2018 in the first instance, further funding to support the post may be available. The position is funded under a combination of EPSRC grants “INSIGHT: Introducing Insight into the Abstraction of Optical Network Infrastructures”, which aims to define realistic and accurate in real-time abstraction of the physical layer and “UNLOC – Unlocking the capacity of optical communications”, aimed at understanding the achievable rates in optical fibre communications channels. Both projects include a range of university and industrial project partners.

The communication research community and industry are under ever-increasing pressure to develop and introduce new approaches and non-incremental solutions for ultra-high capacity communication systems whilst reducing the cost and energy per bit, required to sustain the increases in traffic and provide ubiquitous access to resources, with minimum delays. However, one of the main impediments to this is the lack of a unified, insight-driven, design approach, which is able to include the properties of the nonlinear optical fibre communications infrastructure, and the new knowledge about the physical properties of the existing and planned infrastructure within the virtualization layer. Current optical network abstraction and virtualization research activities have focused on static and fixed-rate optical WDM technologies. The complexity and adaptability of advanced optical communication systems (variable and adaptive modulation formats, rates, flexible nodes, new fibre types, operation at and beyond nonlinear limits and others) pose numerous challenges on choosing the suitable semantic description format and level of abstraction. Such abstraction will simplify the control of underlying complex optical systems and in turn provide infrastructure-agnostic services to users with diverse business models.

Reflecting UCL’s contribution to these projects, the postholder will be expected to carry out research into optical channel, link and transceiver modelling in order to abstract the physical medium, subject to the in-depth understanding of the nonlinear optical channel capacity analysis. A key element will include the study of the communication channel under different modulation formats and coding schemes, study of fibre impairments both linear and nonlinear and their mitigation through channel tailored detection and DSP.  A key aspect of the work includes experimental verification, some  through joint work with project partners. Duties of the postholder will include aspects of project management, communication and administration related to the smooth running of both projects.

Successful applicants should have a PhD in Electronic Engineering or related discipline. Given that research will be disseminated at conferences and through journal  and press articles, the applicant should have excellent written and spoken English coupled with good presentation skills.

The salary scales are as follows:

Grade:                        Research Associate: Grade 7, salary £ 34,056 -£ 41,163 pa

If the successful candidate has not yet been awarded their PhD, appointment will be made at Research Assistant level at grade 6, point 24-26 on the UCL salary scale (£29,809 - £31,432 per annum) with ppayment at Grade 7, point 29 being backdated to the date of final submission of the PhD thesis (including corrections).

Salaries shown are inclusive of London Allowance (£2980 per annum)       


All applications should be submitted via UCL online recruitment system

Job reference 1657560

You will need to upload the following documents with your application:

  • CV (including the names and contact details of at least two referees who may be contacted prior to interview)
  • An up to date list of publications


You can also download a copy of the advert and further particulars.

Interested applicants are encouraged to make informal enquiries to Prof Polina Bayvel (, tel: +44 20 7679 7921)

If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact Vicky Coombes at quoting Job reference 1657560

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