Research position to investigate on satellite-to-ground communication protocols

Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is becoming one of the relevant IoT technologies that is being extended in different domains. Its application in satellite systems is currently being discussed. These systems c

Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is becoming one of the relevant IoT technologies that is being extended in different domains. Its application in satellite systems is currently being discussed. These systems can provide global coverage and ubiquitous services to terrestrial devices. One of the main challenges that needs to be tackled is the interaction between satellites and ground stations. These interfaces are typically characterized by temporal connections in which data transfer capacity is limited. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize those contacts to transfer as much data as possible.

This temporality provokes the following constraints:

1. Data cannot be transferred following ground techniques, like connection-oriented ones

2. Aprioritization of the data types (or operations) must be conducted to properly use the contact

3. Half duplex interfaces emphasizes this problem.

For this reason, the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) entity standardized different sat-to-ground protocols that considered these challenges. These protocols were defined to interact with traditional satellites (e.g. for Earth Observation), which generate data over a target area and can be planned. In the context of the project, this situation may conflict with NB-IoT data flows (e.g. user data, signaling, etc.), which were not defined with those constraints. Therefore, it is important to evaluate how the CCSDS standards match with these new data flows, and which extensions are required to achieve this integration.

The candidate will investigate techniques for integrating NB-IoT data flows with CCSDS standards. For this reason, the candidate shall review and understand current technologies that address this challenge, and extend it with novel approaches. It is expected to develop solutions that could be deployed in future satellite missions.

As a summary, the tasks associated to this job are the following ones:

  • Review the state of the art related to CCSDS
  • Investigate in novel technologies to manage NB-IoT flow
  • Design and implement a software solution
  • Study the limitations and enhancements of the proposed solution
  • Publish the research results in conferences and Q1/Q2 journals

Who we are:

The i2CAT Foundation is a CERCA centre with the vision of leading the challenge of designing and building the digital society of the future based on research and innovation in advanced digital technologies. Highlighting the generation of talent and in order to generate economic and social impact, i2CAT wants to turn Catalonia into a creative, empowered and innovative society, where knowledge and digital technology are at the service of people, promoting:

  • The generation of excellence knowledge aimed at solving the challenges of companies, citizens and public administration (mission-driven research).
  • The collaboration and establishment of synergies with other agents of the local ecosystem of research and digital innovation to co-develop solutions and products that generate a transformative impact.
  • The digital empowerment of citizens through digital, open, participatory social innovation with territorial capillarity.
  • The leadership of pioneering initiatives and tractors that increase the international projection and visibility of Catalonia as a digital and innovative country.

i2CAT is a constantly growing organization that has extensive experience in the leadership and development of research and innovation projects at national and international level in the technological fields of 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and immersive technologies, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Space Communications and digital society technologies.

Want to know more? Visit our webpage! (

What do we offer:

  • You will be part of a multicultural team. We have a fun loving and friendly international work environment.
  • Be in contact and work with cutting-edge technology
  • Work in challenging R&D projects
  • Fix + variable salary
  • Option of flexible retribution (restaurant card, transport card, medical insurance, kindergarten)
  • Flexible working schedule – We know you have a life outside of work and we will work with you to make sure it’s kept that way
  • Fridays afternoon off
  • Intensive work schedule in July & August
  • Home-office option
  • Open space office in Barcelona
  • Free fruit every week
  • Discounted Gym-access
  • 25 vacation days per year
  • Casual dress code
  • Let us know which trainings you need
  • You will have the opportunity to attend tech conferences and events.

The i2CAT Foundation seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and, therefore explicitly, encourages women to apply.

The i2CAT Foundation seeks to increase the number of persons with disabilities among its workforce, and therefore explicitly encourages this collective to apply.

The following skills are needed:

  • Telecommunications degree achieved
  • Knowledge on Computer science and satellite communications protocols
  • Knowledge on CCSDS standards
  • Knowledge on NB-IoT core
  • Enthusiasm to investigate novel solutions in this field
  • Capability to face unknown topics
  • Advanced English-level

The following skills are desired:

  • Experience in programming languages (C, C++, Rust, etc.)
  • Experience in embedded systems or on-board computers
  • Experience in space developments