Development & Alumni Relations Office 


17 August 2020

A researcher from Queen’s has been awarded a five-year research fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering to make delays in wireless networks a thing of the past.

Dr Nidhi Simmons, a research fellow from the Centre for Wireless Innovation, within the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s, will lead the programme which will help to deliver ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) within 5G and 5G+ networks.

It is hoped that the new technology will contribute to the widespread adoption of delay sensitive applications such as autonomous driving and industry automation.

During the programme, Dr Simmons will work with leading experts in artificial intelligence, wireless communications and low-latency communications from across the globe to deliver her vision of near zero-latency wireless communications. 

Speaking about her research Dr Simmons said:

“During this Covid-19 pandemic, it is our communications infrastructure that has been instrumental in keeping us all connected. Nonetheless, while interacting on social media platforms, we have all experienced broken video calls and delays in our conversations.

“Through this research, it is my goal to make delays a thing of the past and enable truly instantaneous communications. 

“Reducing the delay or response time of cellular networks will have many economic and societal benefits. For example, it will make autonomous driving a reality, reducing accidents, improving road utilisation and eliminating traffic jams.”

Dr Simmons continued: “It will also reignite our economy post Covid-19 by enabling factory automation, made possible by safe human-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication. Remote surgery will also become possible, where surgeons will have the ability to perform operations over a 5G/5G+ network, effectively enabling the same healthcare access for all citizens in the UK.”

A graduate in Telecommunications Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, India, (2011), Dr Simmons has an MSc in Wireless Communications and Signal Processing from the University of Bristol (2012), and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s (2018).

Her research interests include physical-layer security, channel characterisation and modelling, cellular device-to-device, body-centric communications, ultra-reliable low-latency communications and machine-learning.

Aside from her academic priorities, Dr Simmons is deeply involved with promoting Women in Engineering and STEM. A member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Women in Engineering Society, she has regularly taken part in open days and PhD induction events at Queen’s where she has actively promoted engineering.

She has also delivered talks to 80+ school children mainly females; when they were about to make their GCSE choices) where she has encouraged them to take up STEM subjects by discussing her own experience, motivation, and the challenges she has overcome. 

Media enquiries to Sarah Beveridge at Queen's Communications Office on telephone: + 44 (0)7795 353874.

Photo credit (headline): image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

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