Alumni Profile: Vaia Kalokidou
What I'm doing now and how the CDT experience has helped my career
Since December 2015, I have been working as a Senior Research Associate (in the University of Bristol) on the H2020 5G-Xhaul project, focusing on mm-Wave technology for access/backhaul/fronthaul of 5G networks, specialising on beamforming techniques and signal processing. On top of that, I have been also involved in a UK project on mm-Wave connectivity on trains, focusing on the determination of achievable throughput, and in general link performance evaluation, for vehicular communications (trains) in mm-Wave frequencies.
Since graduating from the CDT in Communications programme, I have been seeking opportunities to work in academia. From December 2015, I have been working as a Research Associate on European and UK projects, targeting the architecture and performance evaluation of 5G networks, focusing on mm-Wave and Massive MIMO technology, and signal processing techniques.
Why I chose the CDT route and what I gained from being part of the CDT
I graduated from the University of Reading in 2005 with an M.Eng degree in Electronic Engineering. The CDT programme was the ideal option for me while I was applying for PhD positions. As it is a four-year programme, the first year offered the possibility to deepen knowledge and skills related to Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics, providing the perfect foundation to continue with a three-year PhD degree. The high level of industry involvement was particularly appealing, as it provided the opportunity to combine state-of-the-art research in my field whilst monitoring what is important and required in industry. Studentship fees, provision of laptop and other equipment, and the ability to enrol on several seminars/workshops/training programs were also factors that affected my decision to apply for the CDT in Communications programme.
My PhD gave me valuable knowledge on how research is performed and how industry is involved, great experience on how to become a confident and competent researcher in academia, and strong skills not only in technical aspects, but also socially and professionally. Overall, it was a great experience that I would recommend to everyone interested in either an academic career or a career in industry.
PhD project topic
My PhD was on 'Interference Management Techniques for 5G Networks', in collaboration with NEC.
The general objectives of the PhD involved the development of signal processing algorithms for high capacity small cell wireless networks, so as to enhance the energy and system spectrum efficiency. Therefore, the study and exploitation of the statistical nature of the interference was a key aspect for the development of the project, having resulted in novel methodologies on interference mitigation.
I submitted my PhD at the end of the third year of my studies. During those three years, I attended training schools and conferences. I also won the Best Paper Presentation award at the CSN Conference (University of Bristol) in 2015.
Five to ten year plan
As I really enjoy my current position, I'd like to remain in academia, gaining more experience and improving my technical and research skills. A lecturer post would be the ideal combination of research and teaching.
"The CDT has changed my career development, and thus my life, in ways I have never expected possible seven years ago."