On-screen with MARTEL: ICT research in the Time of COVID-19


In ‘On-Screen with Martel’, Martel’s CEO, Dr Monique Calisti investigates how COVID-19 affected H2020 project management and activities in an interview with Professor Ingrid Moerman, Internet and Data Lab (IDLab) at Ghent University.

Prof. Moerman’s research group is working efficiently from home writing publications and delivering software solutions to industrial partners. Good ICT infrastructures and good Internet connectivity allowed Prof. Moerman’s team to do their job despite COVID-19 remote working restrictions. Even group activities such as technical brainstorms on a whiteboard have been adapted for the format of online meetings.

Regarding coordination of the Orca Project, for orchestration and reconfiguration control architecture, which offers experimentation facilities to promote wireless innovation, Prof. Moerman says everything from software updates to maintenance and upgrades can be fully remotely controlled. Advancements in this area should feed in to 5G processors currently being deployed.

Nevertheless, Prof. Moerman misses direct physical interactions and although she enjoys family life at home, it is a different picture for the PhD Researchers living alone in Ghent, in cramped accommodation, with no garden to escape to.  It is important to make sure those people are not feeling too isolated, she says.

There may be more flexibility in the future to combine work and home. With exit strategies in place, Prof. Moerman is still wary of an immediate return to work and measures will be taken to protect people through social distancing.

“We should prepare for a different way of working in future”, says Prof. Moerman, as it could happen again.

Prof. Ingrid Moerman is Professor at IDLab, Ghent University in collaboration with imec