CALL 12-2017-1 - Early Stage Research Positions at the CTTC Optical Networks and Systems Department for MSCA-ITM-EID ONFIRE project

04 September 2017 - Expires: 31 December 2017


ONFIRE (Future Optical Networks for Innovation, Research and Experimentation) project – Available from October 1st 2017) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action as an Innovative Training Network (ITN) European Industrial Doctorates (EID) offering two Early Stage Research (ESR) positions to be conducted in both Spain and Germany. ONFIRE participating organizations are CTTC Research Center located at Castelldefels (Spain), NOKIA Bell Labs company located at Stuttgart (Germany) and UPC University located at Barcelona (Spain).

For additional information about the CTTC Optical Networks and Systems Department, please refer to

ONFIRE project will focus on exploiting from both perspectives of hardware and software solutions the flexibility and modularity provided by two key topics: disaggregated optical networks and cognitive optical networks. Thereby, the ultimate goal is to leverage open source software solutions running on inexpensive commodity hardware to reduce both CapEx and OpEx when automatizing network operations. Specifically, ONFIRE will target:

  • Software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) concepts to deploy a unified control scheme across heterogeneous transport network segments and distributed cloud infrastructures.
  • Elastic interfaces and programmable white boxes.
  • Cost-effective subsystems for non-intrusive in-band monitoring of advanced modulation formats.
  • Data mining techniques to leverage massive physical layer monitoring data in coherent interfaces, white boxes and monitoring subsystems, to adjust and re-optimize network settings.

Qualification and experience

The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) must have a MSc degree in electrical, electronics, telecommunications, photonics engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the MSc degree.

We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic junior scientists, aiming at significantly improving their career perspectives in both public and private sectors. Excellent research skills and analytical abilities are required, fluency in English (spoken and written), proactive communication skills and problem solving as part of a team, solid programming skills, strong record keeping, great work ethic and initiatives are essential characteristics. Previous experience in fields related to the specific positions is a plus.

Recruitment and execution terms

The ESRs will be offered with an employment of 3 years under a very appealing employment conditions and salary offered by Marie Curie ITN program. ESRs will join the programme with a period of intensive training at CTTC to acquire the tools required to conduct research on each of the two topics, and will be enrolled in the PhD programme of the UPC. Half of the duration of the ESR involvement will be spent at the site of Nokia Bell Labs giving the core industrial aspect of the ONFIRE project.

Eligibility Conditions

According to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (available here), the candidates for the ITN must fulfill the following criteria: i) candidates may be of any nationality but not having resided or carried out their main activity in the country of the host institution of the position they are applying to for more than 1 year in the past 3 years. They must move from one country to another to broaden or deepen their competences; ii) be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers; iii) have not yet been awarded a PhD degree.


The applications must be received no later than 31/12/2017 by using this online-system.

Please fill the application form and attach the following documents:

-          Curriculum vitae

-          Master and Bachelor Diplomas

-          Master and Bachelor Grade Transcript

List of offered positions:

ESR1 Project Title: Data Plane Technologies for Disaggregated Optical Networks

In this project, novel transmission technologies will be studied in order to support the disaggregated networks concept. Transceiver architectures and interfaces capable to be sliced in different functional blocks will be investigated, as well as optical (sub)systems and novel techniques for non-intrusive in-band optical performance monitoring. Part of the activities is focused on the study and architectural design of generic (and neutral) optical network elements, i.e. optical white boxes,  identifying suitable design rules and interfaces to integrate specific optical/electronic subsystems in a consistent SDN-controllable network with cognitive capabilities. The transmission technologies to be investigated will also target at suitably combining statistical multiplexing with flexible optical circuit switching technologies, with special focus on optical Ethernet transport. Finally, data plane interoperability between proprietary network elements (black boxes) and the white boxes concept will be also assessed within the secondment period at ALUD premises to exploit the available (proprietary) network elements. A strong interaction with ESR 2 will be the key to address the appropriate configuration of data plane elements performed by the cognitive infrastructure and in view of the final integration and experimental demonstrations.

ESR2 Project Title: Cognitive SDN-Controlled Optical Networks

This project will start on mainly identifying the requirements for designing and developing a feasible cognitive architecture operating on top of a SDN controlled / orchestrated infrastructure. The targeted infrastructure will cover a metro / core segment encompassing heterogeneous resources (IT and networking) as well as technologies (packet and optical). Next, the adopted cognitive SDN solution will be deployed constituting the framework for devising and implementing advanced algorithms and mechanisms based to enable end-to-end services ensuring quality of service and quality of transmission along with attaining an efficient resource utilization. The deployed cognitive SDN controlled solution will be finally integrated and validated jointly with the data plane infrastructure and systems developed by ESR1. This final objective will allow identifying hints on actual implementation and the effective commercialization of the results.


Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), in Castelldefels – Barcelona, is a growing and well-funded research institution fostering excellence and diversity. CTTC offers a highly international environment at an exceptionally attractive location. As a research center in telecommunications technologies CTTC provides a fertile environment for research cooperation and innovation between different disciplines.

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

CTTC is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.


Apply now