Doctoral Fellowships – Joan Oró Grants

Joan Oró grants for the recruitment of pre-doctoral research staff in training (FI)

Started at: 01-07-2021
Ends on: 31-05-2026

Areas: Space Communications (SC) and Media Internet Area (MIA)

Joan Oró grants for the recruitment of pre-doctoral research staff in training (FI)

Managed by the Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (AGAUR), these grants promote the training and research activity of contracted research staff and to increase their qualification and professionalization during the initial phases of the research career, and thus strengthening the generation of frontier knowledge in research and its transfer through a doctorate at a university in the university system of Catalonia.

PhD candidate: Oriol Fusté Lara

Doctoral Programme: UPC, PhD in Telematic Engineering
Started at: 01/06/2024
Ends on: 31/05/2027
Area: Space Communications (SC)

Call Joan Oró FI 2024


The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm is defined as a key service and has established itself as a widespread technology of importance in future networks (i.e. 5G). Many relevant IoT use cases remain unserved in rural and remote areas due to the cost and complexity of deploying network infrastructure. The growth of the satellite sector and the deployment of LEO constellations raised the Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) architecture as an alternative to provide coverage for these use cases. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has introduced in its architecture the NTN approach to provide coverage through
satellites, but it does not work correctly if there are discontinuities in the space links.

Discontinuities will happen when coverage is provided by, for example, a sparse constellation of LEO satellites. Giving a complete solution to these use cases opens several research areas in the field of space communications. The discontinuities in space links and the constrained capabilities of satellite terminals have stopped the adoption of IP suite protocols for satellite communications, which are mature technologies and classical choices in a multitude of ground-based networks. Instead, space communications protocols have evolved separately, developing protocols focused on handling the problems of space links.

This is the case for Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN), a technological approach that aims to solve the challenges of the links in interplanetary and deep-space missions. Standards exist that place IP over a DTN protocol stack and proposals to create a DTN compatible IP framework, opening the discussion and many research topics on the evolution of space communications protocols. This work tries to expand the IP stack to perform DTN functionalities.

Main objectives:

This PhD proposal aims to contribute to the developments in the field of 3GPP satellite networks for IoT service provision. Specifically, the main areas of contributions are:

  • The development of solutions for 3GPP-based IoT services over discontinuous satellite links.
  • The evolution of space communication protocols towards DTN convergence with 3GPP standard protocols.
  • The development of mechanisms for D2D communications of future IoT terminals.

Expected results:

Contributions to the state-of-the-art related to 3GPP-based IoT communications over satellite with novel developments and demonstrations. Bridging the gap between space and ground protocol stacks by developing and validating an IP-based stack that can operate in the conditions of sparse NTN LEO constellations.

PhD candidate: Oscar Baselga Lahoz

Doctoral Programme: ENTEL
Started at: 01/06/2023
Ends on: 31/05/2026
Area: Space Communications (SC)

Call Joan Oró FI 2023


From the early days of space communications, numerous companies have been attracted by the idea of ubiquitous and global Internet services. This interest has recently been accompanied by the emergence of the New Space. This new paradigm has revolutionized the space sector by reducing technology costs and promoting the market. At the same time, the 3GPP has been working on Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) to integrate satellite nodes into the traditional cellular network. This feature is currently being developed under 5G but will lead to 6G. This common trend of providing Internet from space has provoked the entry of satellite operators into the 3GPP market. Consequently, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO)- based solutions have experienced significant growth thanks to their low delay transmission and high throughput. These characteristics are essential for Internet services. However, an additional requirement must also be met: continuity. Due to the inherent dynamics and small field of view of LEO satellites, ground terminals have limited time to access the satellite during its pass. Therefore, continuity poses a major problem. As a solution, large satellite constellations, i.e. mega-constellations, have been proposed to always provide at least one satellite visible for the ground terminal. Nevertheless, their implementation potentially impacts economy, sustainability and coexistence. The high costs are affordable for only a few companies, resulting in a market oligopoly. In turn, the large infrastructure massifies the space environment; hence, the satellite overpopulation interferences with many astronomical activities. Aiming to mitigate this impact, this PhD thesis proposes the multi-stakeholder paradigm to form mega-constellations by aggregating multiple satellite constellations. In this way, satellite operators can cooperate in space to logically build their shared mega-constellation, reducing costs and the number of
orbiting satellites.

Main objectives:

The general objective of this PhD thesis is to develop an approach for multi-stakeholder to deploy NTN. To this end, the following objectives are defined:

  • Defining in-depth the multi-stakeholder paradigm to provide a clear vision to the scientific community.
  • Developing the network topology of the constellations which will enable multi- stakeholder.
  • Developing the protocol to communicate two satellites from different constellations.
  • Developing the mechanism to route traffic across a network of constellations.

Expected results:

This PhD thesis’s expected result is clearly defining the multi-stakeholder paradigm in the scientific community. For this purpose, it is intended to achieve the aforementioned objectives, disseminate the findings and advances in relevant scientific journals and conferences, contribute to developing NTN for 6G and generate impact on the space sector to promote the proposed initiative.

PhD candidate: Mohamad Hjeij

Doctoral Programme: UPC, PhD in Network Engineering  (Department of Network Engineering)
Started at: 01/06/2022
Ends on: 31/05/2025
Area: Media Internet Area (MIA)

Call Joan Oró FI 2022


Social Virtual Reality (VR) promises to become the next-generation communication, interaction, and collaboration medium. It allows multiple remote users to join a shared virtual environment for social interaction and even conducting tasks together. Recent advances in this field have preliminarily proven that Social VR can provide enhanced (co- )presence, social meaning and quality of interaction levels compared to traditional 2D videoconferencing solutions, especially if realistic and volumetric user representations are provided in those shared experiences. However, existing Social VR platforms and related studies still encounter key limitations. On the one hand, existing volumetric video technologies to provide realistic user representations and multiuser communications provide limited visual resolution and scalability. On the other hand, most Social VR experiences evaluated and demonstrated to date are based on providing basic interactive scenarios (e.g., shared video viewing, exploration of spaces and 3D objects).

This PhD thesis aims at providing innovative technological contributions to overcome such limitations. First, it will design and develop a new volumetric video pipeline to provide 3D realistic user representations (i.e., holograms), increasing the visual resolution and real-time performance compared to state-of-the-art solutions. Second, it will design and develop novel virtualized in-cloud media processing functions (e.g., stream forwarding, mixing, or transcoding) to enhance the scalability and interoperability of Social VR and holographic communication services. Third, it will design and develop a set of multimodal Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) features and gamification techniques to be integrated into Social VR experiences to enable rich group-based interaction and effective collaboration. All such contributions will be integrated into an existing end-to-end Social VR platform and will be thoroughly (objectively and subjectively) evaluated in different relevant use cases, like culture and tourism.

Main objectives:

The doctoral thesis aims to advance technology to enrich gamified and collaborative experiences within virtual environments, focusing on integrating multi-user realistic holoportation technology and multimodal Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) techniques. Holoportation enables real-time projection of users into virtual environments, fostering unparalleled presence and immersion. Through holoportation, users interact as if physically co-located, overcoming distance barriers for true collaboration. Complementing holoportation, multimodal HCI techniques like gesture recognition and voice commands offer intuitive interaction modalities, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction. The thesis follows an iterative approach, refining proposed technological contributions through design, development, and evaluation phases

Expected results:

This doctoral thesis aims to enhance Social VR experiences through three main objectives:

  • Development of a real-time high-resolution VV pipeline to generate lifelike volumetric video content, enriching immersion and visual fidelity.
  • Introduction of cloud-based processing components to improve scalability and interoperability, enabling seamless experiences across platforms.
  • Implement group-based multi-modal interaction features to gamify Social VR experiences, fostering collaboration through intuitive communication methods.

PhD candidate: Miguel Fernández Dasí 

Doctoral Programme: Network Engineering
Started at: 01/07/2021
Ends on: 30/06/2024
Area: Media and Internet Area (MIA)

Call Joan Oró FI 2021


The production and consumption of multimedia content are continuously increasing, particularly affecting immersive formats like VR360 video. Even though significant advances have been witnessed regarding the processing, delivery and consumption of interactive VR360 video, key challenges and research questions still need to be addressed to efficiently provide multi-camera and multi-user VR360 video services over distributed and heterogeneous environments. This research aims to provide novel and efficient contributions to overcome existing limitations in this topic. First, it will develop an end-to-end modular VR360 video platform, including the measurement of Quality of Service (QoS) and activity metrics, to be used as a research testbed. Second, it will provide web-compliant viewport-aware video processing and delivery strategies to dynamically concentrate the video resolution on the users’ viewport, with a single stream and decoding process through the web browser. Third, it will propose innovative encoding, signalling and synchronization solutions to enable effective support for multi-camera VR360 services with personalized, fast and in-sync switching features. Fourth, it will explore how to effectively provide social viewing scenarios between remote users while watching the same or related VR360 videos. The work plans to contribute with low-latency delivery pipelines, tools, and algorithms to assess and model the Quality of Experience (QoE).

Main objectives:

The main research objective of this PhD thesis is to design, develop and evaluate novel, advanced, but lightweight technological contributions to enable an interactive viewport-aware processing and delivery of high resolution (4K) VR360 video in (live) multi-camera and multi-user scenarios, by leveraging web-compliant technologies and formats, and providing support to heterogeneous consumer devices (e.g., desktop PCs, smartphones, VR headsets…).

Expected results:

  • Development of a modular end-to-end platform for the adaptive encoding and delivery of VR360 content to web players.
  • Design and development of strategic, lightweight and interoperable solutions to enable viewport-aware processing and delivery of VR360.
  • Development of novel technological solutions to support distributed VR360 video ingests in a scalable and synchronized manner.
  • Enable interactive and social VR360 video viewing between remote consumers via web- based interfaces.

This programme is cofunded by the Euroepan Union & the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)