Prof. David Grace  MEng, DPhil (York) Senior MIEEE, MIET

Professor (Research), Head of Communication Technologies Research Group, Co-Director of York - Zhejiang Lab for Cognitive Radio and Green Communications, Guest Professor Zhejiang University

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 2396
Fax: +44 (0)1904 32 2335

Research Area: Communication Technologies Group

Areas of Expertise:Intelligent Networks, including Cognitive Radio, Radio Resource Management, Topology Management, Wireless Architecture Design, Wireless Systems, High Altitude Platform Systems



David Grace is Professor (Research) and Head of Communications and Signal Processing Research Group within the Department of Electronics at the University of York. He is also a Co-Director of the York - Zhejiang Lab on Cognitive Radio and Green Communications, and a Guest Professor at Zhejiang University.  He received his PhD from University of York in 1999, his thesis dealing with ‘Distributed Dynamic Channel Assignment for the Wireless Environment’.  Current research interests include: applying distributed artificial intelligence to resource and topology management to improve overall energy efficiency; architectures for 5G and beyond 5G wireless networks; wireless communications from aerial platforms.  He is the York PI of the H2020 Marie Curie ITN 5G-AURA, that is investigating 5G systems, and GREENBACK, a project funded by Huawei, investigating 5G backhaul/fronthaul solutions for 5G ultra dense networks. Recently he was one of the lead investigators on FP7 ABSOLUTE which dealt with extending LTE-A for emergency/temporary events via aerial platforms. He is an author of over 200 papers, and author/editor of 2 books.  In 2013-14 he chaired IEEE Technical Committee on Cognitive Networks, and is a founding member of IEEE Technical Committee on Green Communications and Computing.  He is currently a Non-Executive Director of a high tech start-up company.  In 2000, he co-founded SkyLARC Technologies limited and was one of its Directors.

Check out:

Cognitive Communications: Distributed Artificial Intelligence (DAI), Regulatory Policy and Economics, Implementation (111995150X) cover image
Cognitive Communications: Distributed Artificial Intelligence (DAI), Regulatory Policy and Economics, Implementation
David Grace (Editor) and Honggang Zhang (Editor)
John Wiley and Sons
Hardcover 512 pages
August 2012
ISBN: 978-1-1199-5150-6

Broadband Communications via High Altitude Platforms
David Grace and Mihael Mohorcic
John Wiley and Sons
Hardcover, 424 pages
October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-470-69445-9



Publications information is available via the York Research Database


Selected Activities At York

2009 – onwards Taught MSc Project Supervisor for team based project

Lectures on University of York Postgraduate MSc Communications Engineering programme, for:

2007 – 2008 Emerging Technologies: Cognitive Radio (1 lecture)

2006 – 2008 Emerging Technologies: High Altitude Platforms (2 lectures)

Lecturer on University of York Postgraduate IGDS programme, for:

2000 – 2005 Wireless Information Systems

         – Lecture      Future Wireless Systems

2000 Spectrum Management

         – Lectures    Distributed Dynamic Channel Assignment

                              High Altitude Platforms,

                              Model Development Using OPNET

Selected National and International Activities

Lecturer on COST IC0902 / ICT-ACROPOLIS / COST-TERRA Summer School, Application of Cognitive Radio and Spectrum Sharing to Energy Saving,  Kings College London, July 2013

CORNET Short Course on Cognitive Communications, Israel, a 3 day intensive course that took place in June 2011. I was the course leader, responsible for development of the overall curriculum, as well as specific courses.

York – Zhejiang Summer School on Cognitive Communications, a 7 day intensive Summer School that took place from 25-31 October 2010, with Research Councils UK funding. Joint leader, responsible for 8 other lecturers, and responsible for development of the overall curriculum, as well as specific courses.

Invited Tutorial: Delivering Communications Services from High Altitude Platforms, ASMS’06, Herrsching, Germany, 29 May 2006

Tutorial Leader at IEEE International Conference on Communications, New York on ‘Broadband Communications from High Altitude Platforms’.  IEEE ICC is one of the most prestigious conferences on communications, 2002.


Research Interests

Application of artificial intelligence to radio resource and network topology management for mixed wireless systems, including ultra-dense small cell networks.

Radio resource management in general including, dynamic spectrum access, cognitive radio, coexistence and spectrum sharing, application of economics to spectrum assignment, and distributed dynamic channel assignment, including specialist knowledge of their application to High Altitude Platforms and wireless ad hoc networks.

System level design, interference studies and mitigation techniques for mixed wireless systems, incorporating current and future standards, including 5G and beyond 5G systems. 

Future backhaul/fronthaul architectures, including cloud RAN; Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation. 

Ongoing and Previous Projects and Activities

Radio Resource  and Topology Management for Terrestrial and Ad Hoc Networks

  • 5G-AURA Marie-Curie ITN:  A four year project that commenced in October 2015.  This will examine future 5Gdeployments.  York activities will include advanced MAC and Physical Layers.   Leader of the training workpackage and York PI.
  • GREENBACK: An 18 month project funded by Huawei, Sweden that started in January 2015, which is examining future 5G backhaul/fronthaul options for ultra-dense small cell networks.  This includes the application of intelligent resource and topology management.  York Principal Investigator.
  • NetCoM: A 3 year EPSRC funded project that started September 2013, that will investigate the use of physical layer network coding for 5G and beyond 5G systems.  Responsibility for the development of an (intelligent) MAC layer for such systems along with system level performance. Co-Investigator.
  • FP7 ABSOLUTE: Aerial Base Stations with Opportunistic Links for Unexpected & Temporary Events. An integrated project that is extending the capability of of LTE-A to cover disaster scenarios and other temporaray events.  York and Workpackage Leader for Cognitive Radio aspects.  October 2012 - September 2015.
  • FP7 BuNGee: Broadband Next Generation Access. A European project that looked at use of cooperative MIMO and cognitive radio, capable of creating self-organising backhaul networks.  January 2010 - June 2012. York Co-investigator.
  • MOD Competition of Ideas Project 'Cognitive Routing for Tactical Ad Hoc Networks'.  Principal Investigator for the project that looked at cognitive radio and cognitive networking aspects.  October 2007 - September 2008.  Principal Investigator.
  • The Use of Licensed Exempt Spectrum for frequencies above 30GHz (Ofcom). Consortium based project that included: Quotient Associates and Indepen. The activity took place August-September 2006. Co-Investigator.
  • Nominated researcher for NEWCOM an FP6 Network of Excellence. I took part in the Department A activities on Ad Hoc Networks. The 18-month activity commenced in March 2004.
  • Spectral efficiency and system capacity evaluation of ad hoc and cellular communications networks which use MIMO (Radio Communications Agency). Consortium based project that included University of Bristol, BTexact, Toshiba, and York EMC Services. The project took place May 2003 - March 2004.
  • FLOWS - A European Framework 5 project ( January 2002 - December 2004) examining 4th Generation communications networks. I was part of the team evaluating the convergence benefits of different architectures and broadband standards in different usage scenarios. I acted as day-to-day project manager for York's aspects.
  • Distributed Dynamic Channel Assignment for Tactical Communications (DERA) - project over 4 years, examining DCA techniques for future military multimedia communications. Schemes extensively modelled in both OPNET and MATLAB.


High Altitude Platforms

  • FP7 ABSOLUTE: Aerial Base Stations with Opportunistic Links for Unexpected & Temporary Events. An integrated project that is extending the capability of of LTE-A to cover disaster scenarios and other temporary events.  Includes practical trials of aerial platform based technologies.  October 2012 - September 2015.  York Principal Investigator.
  • Principal Scientific Officer for the 3-year FP6 CAPANINA Project that started in November 2003. Responsible for the project's technical programme. The project investigated broadband delivery from several types of aerial platform network. The project had 14 industrial/academic partners spread across 7 European countries and Japan. CAPANINA is the follow-on to the Framework 5 HeliNet Project (see below).
  • USEHAAS - FP6 Specific Support Action to determine the research strategy for future aeronautical development of high altitude platforms. The 18-month project commenced in March 2005.
  • COST 297 - on High Altitude Platforms and Other Services - Chair of WG1 Radio Communications. This 4-year activity commenced in 2005.
  • A project supported by BNSC (with SkyLARC Technologies and BTexact) looked at the implications of V-band on HAP systems that was completed in July 2003. This work included evaluating the spectral efficiency of multiple platform configurations.
  • The European Framework 5 project HeliNet (January 2000 - March 2003), where I acted as project manager for the broadband communications aspects. The research included system level design tradeoffs and resource allocation strategies in providing multimedia services to urban users in the mm-wave bands. York Co-Investigator.


  • Propagation Modelling for Land Mobile Radio (DERA) - ray tracing techniques to model propagation in urban areas. Examined the effect of database inaccuracies on output results.
  • Clock Recovery for Giga-Bit LANs (British Aerospace) - advised on the most appropriate techniques for passive star fibre LANs.


Research Associates

Direct line management responsibility for:

Current: Dr Yi Chu, Salahedin Rehan

Former: Dr Qiyang Zhao, Dr Yunbo Han, Dr Tao Jiang, Dr Yiming Liu, Dr Pairoj Likitthanasate, Dr Guanhua Chen, Dr Konstantinos Katzis

Postgraduate Students

Supervisor to several MSc, MPhil and PhD students in the group with common research interests.

Current PhD supervisees:  Danial Zakaria, Shipra Kapoor, Aftab Ahmed, Nurul Sidek, Jialu Lun, Zhehan Li, Rudraksh Shrivastava, Abimbola Fisusi, Sinan Nuuman, Nils Morozs (2nd Supervisor).

Former supervisees: Salahedin Rehan, Lawal Mohammed Bello (2nd Supervisor), Selahattin Kosunalp (2nd Supervisor), Abdul Karim Oloyede, Aizat Ramli, Elizar, Qiyang Zhao, Yi Chu (2nd Supervisor), Yunbo Han, RuoFan Jin, Kunyoung LeeMeng Fei Yang, Hai Bin Li, Tao Jiang, Bo Han, Jian Qiu (2nd Supervisor), Jingxin Chen, Pairoj Likitthanasate, YuMing Lu, Yiming Liu, Guanhua Chen, Charles Thomas Mmary, Zhiyu Peng, Zhe Yang, Yang Zhang, Konstantinos Katzis, Konstantinos Akelestos, Linjun Dong, Zijun Zhao, Maninder Jeet Kaur (1 year visiting student).

Current and Recent Long-term Visitors

Dr Robert Urban, Brno Institute of Technology, Czech Republic

Luis Suarez, Telecom Bretagne, France

Yi Tang, National University of Defense Technology, China

Xuan Zhou, Zhejiang University, China

Xianfu Chen, Zhejiang University, China

Dr Konstantinos Katzis, European University Cyprus

Siavash Bayat, University of Sydney, Australia

Dr Minjian Zhao, Zhejiang University, China

Dr Yong Xi, National University of Defense Technology, China

Ludek Subrt, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic

Robert Urban, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic

Shufeng Li, National University of Defence Technology, China

Mohamed Elsokkary, University of Cairo, Egypt


Selected Research Collaborations

Co-Director of York-Zhejiang Lab for Cognitive Radio and Green Communications

- a joint structure between York and Zhejiang University, designed to enhance research in cognitive radio and green communications.  The structure was signed into force by York’s Vice Chancellor and President of Zhejiang in April 2010. 

Founder and Chair of WUN Cognitive Communications Consortium

- now with members from over 90 organisations worldwide

Outside Positions of Responsibility

Advisor to Special Interest Group Green and Sustainable Networking and Computing with Cognition and Cooperation

Non-Executive Director of High Technology Start Up Company

Previous activities

Chair for IEEE Technical Committee on Cognitive Networks  2013 -2014

Chair of WUN Cognitive Communications Consortium 2009 -2015

Vice-Chair Special Interest Group on Cognitive Green Communications and Computing Networks 2013-14

Member of IEEE Comsoc Technical Advisory Council 2013-14

Chair of COST 297 - HAPCOS WG1 'Radio Communications' 2005-9

Director of SkyLARC Technologies Ltd 2001-2009.

Technical Committee Memberships

IEEE Technical Committee on Cognitive Networks

IEEE Technical Committee on Green Communications and Computing

IEEE Satellite and Space Committee

Research Council Activity

Member of EPSRC Review College

Member of EC Expert Evaluators Database

Expert Evaluator for a number of EU Projects

Advisor to Commonwealth Scholarship Organisation

Reviewer for EPSRC, NERC, Slovak research and Development Agency, Innovation Funding Agency of the Flemish (Belgian) Government

Selected Keynote Speaker Presentations

Aerial Platform based Wireless Communications – Will the Myth now become Reality?, June 2015, DroNet Workshop Keynote, Part of MobiSys 2015, Florence, Italy

'Cognitive' Green Radio - How can Intelligence Save Energy?, IEEE International Symposium on Wireless Communications Systems (ISWCS), August 2012, Paris, France

Cognitive Communications – The Intelligent Future?, IET CCWMC 2009, Dec 2009 Shanghai, China and Nov 2010, VTT  CAP Seminar, VTT, Finland

Communications from High Altitude Platforms – The Achievements of the Last 10 Years, Oct 2008, HAPCOS Workshop, Friedrichshafen, Germany

High Altitude Platforms for Communications, May 2006, International Wireless Telecommunications Summit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The FP6 CAPANINA Project: Broadband Communications Delivery from High Altitude Platforms, Sep 2005, UAVNET Workshop, London

Broadband Communications from High Altitude Platforms, Feb 2002, CSIR Industry Briefing on HAPs in Pretoria, South Africa

Selected Best Paper Awards

D. Grace, J. Chen, T. Jiang, P.D. Mitchell, Using Cognitive Radio to Deliver ‘Green’ Communications, CROWNCOM’09, Hannover, Germany, June 2009  2013- Best readings in Green Communications – Paper included on list published by the IEEE Technical Committee on Green Communications and Computing

N. Morozs, T. Clarke, D. Grace, A Novel Adaptive Call Admission Control Scheme for Distributed Reinforcement Learning Based Dynamic Spectrum Access in Cellular Networks, IEEE ISWCS 2013, August 2013 Best Paper Award

T. Jiang, D. Grace, Y. Liu, Two Stage Reinforcement Learning Based Cognitive Radio with Exploration Control, IET Communications, Vol.5, Iss. 5, pp. 644-51, 2011, doi: 10.1049/iet-com.2009.0803 WUN CogCom Best Paper Award 2013 - Distributed Artificial Intelligence Category

T. Jiang, D. Grace and P.D. Mitchell, Efficient Exploration in Reinforcement Learning Based Cognitive Radio Spectrum Sharing, IET Communications, Vol 5, Iss. 10, pp. 1309-17, July 2011, doi: 10.1049/iet-com.2010.0258 WUN CogCom Best Paper Award 2012 - Distribributed Artificial Intelligence Category

J. Thornton, D. Grace, Effect of Antenna Aperture Field on Co-Channel Interference, Capacity and Payload Mass in High Altitude Platform Communications, ETRI Journal, Vol. 26, Number 5, October 2004, pp.467 – 474 Paper of the Year 2004

Panel Member on Conference Panel Sessions (Most prestigious in bold)

Within the field of wireless communications, being invited to take part in a conference panel session is normally only given to leaders within their research area, and they are there to voice their respected opinions.  After a short ‘perspective’ presentation, panellists take part in a debate and discussion led by the chair, the most prestigious corresponding to the quality of the conference.

Stratospheric Platforms Systems Workshop (SPSW) 2001, 2003, 2005, Tokyo, Japan – The largest event in the field organised by NICT, Japan

What Role for HAPs? IEEE PIMRC 2004, Barcelona, Spain

High Altitude Platforms – The New Communications Infrastructure, Wireless Personal Mobile Conference (WPMC) 2004 (also Co-Organiser), Abano Terme, Italy

Broadband Fixed Wireless Access, WPMC2005, Aalborg, Denmark

The Networked Vehicle, IEEE VTC05-Spring, Stockholm, Sweden

Communications for Emergency and Crisis Management, International Conference on Telecommunications 2006, Madeira, Portugal

Mobile and Wireless Communications for Emergency and Crisis Management, IEEE International Conference on Wireless Communications Systems (ICWCS) 2006, Valencia, Spain

The Role of High Altitude Platforms in Providing Communications for Emergency and Disaster Management, IEEE PIMRC 2007, Athens, Greece (unable to attend, presented on my behalf)

The Role of High Altitude Platforms in Providing Communications for Emergency and Disaster Management, WPMC 2007, Jaipur, India

Machine Learning for Radio Resource and Topology Management in Self-Organising Networks, Huawei Future of Wireless, Stockholm, Sweden, June 2015

Selected Editorial Duties

Guest Editor for EURASIP J. Wireless Communications and Networking, Advanced Communication Techniques and Applications for High-Altitude Platforms, Apr 2007 – Oct 2008

Guest Editor for URSI Radio Science Bulletin, High Altitude Platforms, June 2009 –

Guest Editor for Wireless Personal Communications, Cognitive Networks for Communications, August 2009 – May 2010

Guest Editor for IET Communications, Cognitive Communications, Feb 2010 –

Guest Editor for ACM/Springer MONET, Advances in Green Mobile Networks, May 2010 –

Co-Editor/Author of book 'Cognitive Communications: Distributed Artificial Intelligence (DAI), Regulatory Policy and Economics, Implementation, John Wiley & Son, published August 2010

Journal and Conference Paper Reviewer (Most prestigious in bold)

IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronics Systems, IEEE Communications Letters, IEEE Wireless Communications, IEEE Journal in Selected Areas on Communications, IEE Proceedings-Communications, IET Microwaves, Antennas and Propagation, IET Networks, Electronics Letters, IEEE Proceedings, IEEE Communications Magazine, IEEE Network, ETRI Journal, IEICE Trans. on Communications, Computer Networks, EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking.  For conferences: IEEE SoftCom 2002 (International Conference on Software, Telecommunications and Computer Networks), IEEE VTC 2003, 2007-Spring, 2008-Spring, 2008-Fall, IEEE PIMRC 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 IEEE GLOBECOM 2004, 2008-Wireless Communications, 2009. WEIMC 2006, IEEE ICC 2004, 2006, 2008, IST Mobile Summit 2005, 2006, 2007, CROWNCOM 2007, ISWC 2007, M-CNIT 2008, IWSSC08, ICWMC09, SPACOMM 2009, ICCCN 2009, IEEE Greencom 2014


Conference Activities

Selected Organising Committees

Track Chair of 2nd EAI International Conference on 5G for Ubiquitous Connectivity, Guildford, UK, 2015

Advisory Board of CROWNCOM 2015

A General Chair for Green Cognitive Communications and Computer Networking Workshop at IEEE INFOCOM 2014, Toronto, Canada

A Symposium Chair: Cognitive Networks, IEEE ICC 2013, June 2013, Budapest Hungary (the largest and most prestigious conference on communications)

General Chair, IEEE International Symposium on Communications and Information Techology (ISCIT) 2011, Hangzhou, China

Finance Chair, IEEE International Symposium on Wireless Communications Systems 2010, York, UK

A TPC Chair COGCOM 2009 - A workshop organised inconjunction with IEEE ICCCN'09, San Francisco, USA

A TPC Chair COGCOM 2008 - A workshop organised inconjunction with CHINACOM'08, Hangzhou, China

Technical Programme Committees (Most prestigious in bold)

Interworking 2004, IST Mobile Summit 2005-2007, Wireless Euro-Mediterranean International Conference 2005, IEEE IWSSC 2005-2007, APCC 2005, WHAPS 2005, IEEE VTC’06-Spring, IEEE VTC’07-Spring, IEEE VTC MS’08 -Spring, IEEE VTC’08-Fall, IEEE VTC’09-Fall, IEEE VTC’09-Spring, IEEE VTC’10-Spring, IEEE VTC’10-Fall, IEEE VTC’11-Fall, IEEE VTC’12-Spring, IEEE VTC’12-Fall, IEEE VTC’13-Spring, IEEE VTC’13-Fall, IEEE VTC’14-Fall, IEEE VTC’15-Spring, IEEE VTC’ 16-Spring, IEEE ICC-GS’07, IEEE Globecom08-Satellites, IEEE Globecom08-Cognitive Radio, IEEE Globecom’10 SAC, IEEE Globecom’11 CRN, IEEE Globecom’11 CRN, GCS,  IEEE ICC-WCS’07, IEEE ICC-GS’08, IEEE ICC09-Cognitive Networks, ICC09-Wireless Networking, IEEE ICC’10, IEEE, ICC’11, IEEE ICC’12, IEEE ICC’13, IEEE ICC’14, IEEE ICC’15, IEEE ICC’16, MCWC’06, CROWNCOM’07, IEEE CCNC’10 Short Papers, IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC’08), Moshsraka International Conference on Communication and Information Technology (M-CIT 2007), MIC-CNIT08, IWSSC 2008-9, IEEE PIMRC 2008-11, , I-CENTRIC08, MIC-CCA08, CCNC08-Short Papers, CMC09, SPACOMM09, IWCMC09, EuCAP09, CENTRIC09, ICSIT 2011, IET ICWCA’12, IEEE ISWCS 2013, Latincom 2013, IEEE Milcom 2013, IEEE Latincom’13, IEEE CCS 2014, IEEE DySPAN 2015


External Examining (PhD)

2008, Sedat Gormus, University of Bristol, UK

2009, Qiwei Zhang, University of Twente, Netherlands

2009, Peng Jiang, Queen Mary University of London, UK

2010, Kok Lim Yau, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

2012, Prabhjot Kaur, National Institute of Technology, Jalandar, India

2012, Syed Shah Irfan Hussain, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan

2012, Faisal Tariq, Open University, UK

2013, Raed Manna, University of Sydney, Australia

2013, Xing Liu, University of Surrey, UK

2013, Brendan Lawton, University College Cork, Ireland

2014, Ahmed Sohail, University of Surrey, UK

2014, Pol Blasco Moreno, Imperial College London, UK

2015, Dileep Kumar Verma, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

2015, Samantha Gamboa, Telecom Bretagne, France, (as Rapporteur)

2015, Meftah Mehdawi, University of Hull, UK



Science Media Centre Contributor

Press Interviews

Consulted on a regular basis for press interviews on aerial platform based communications, broadband issues and cognitive radio.

Check out a recent interview on the Google Loon project with Bloomberg Broadband Business Week (23 May 2013):

Is This Google X's Plan to Wire the World?


Selected local and national radio interviews

Live on ‘Material World’ on BBC Radio 4, 15 minutes discussion on the scientific benefits of  HAPs (Aug 2006)

‘Go Digital’ BBC World Service as a HAPs Expert (July 2004)

‘You and Yours’ BBC Radio 4 and 570 News, Toronto, Canada, discussing the University’s lead role in the CAPANINA project (Jan 2004)

Live on ‘Today’ on BBC Radio 4, discussing the University’s role in the HeliNet project (Feb 2000)