Master Student Internship in Optimization of the LoRa/LoRaWAN Power Consumption for an Autonomous IoT Device, Detecting Microplastics in the Sea (M/F)

Reference : ERIN-2020-Intern-016

Type: Intern
Contract type: Internship
Duration: 6 months
Place: Belvaux



Your work environment

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a Research and Technology Organization (RTO) active in the fields of materials, environment and IT. By transforming scientific knowledge into technologies, smart data and tools, LIST empowers citizens in their choices, public authorities in their decisions and businesses in their strategies.

You will be part of the LIST Environmental Research and Innovation department

As part of a Research and Technology Organization (RTO), the work of the Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department tackles some of the major environmental challenges our society is facing today, such as climate change mitigation, ecosystem resilience, sustainable energy systems, the efficient use of renewable resources, and environmental pollution prevention and control. To this end, the mission of the ERIN department is:

(1) To conduct impact-driven scientific research and development, as well as technological innovation 
(2) To support companies in the implementation of new environmental regulations and advise governments on determining sustainable policies for the future with the objectives of:

  • Analysing, managing and exploiting sustainable resources (water, air, soil, renewable energy, bioresources)
  • Reducing the environmental impact of human consumption and production activities

Within the ERIN department, the Environmental Sensing and Modelling (ENVISION) unit contributes to this mission by carrying out impact-driven research, geared towards monitoring, forecasting and predicting environmental systems in a changing world. An interdisciplinary team of around 50 scientists, engineers, post-docs and PhD candidates is developing new environmental process understanding, alongside new tools and technologies – operating at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales.

Embedded into the ENVISION unit, the Remote Sensing and Natural Resources Modelling (REMOTE) research group capitalizes on a blend of remote sensing data obtained from space- and air-borne platforms, as well as in-situ measured data (collected from heterogeneous IoT devices), for producing information on the status of natural resources for public and private stakeholders. The REMOTE research group has a proven record in research and innovation related to integrated space applications, combining expertise in earth observation, remote sensing, and satellite communication, applied to several domains including precision agriculture, disaster management, natural resources monitoring and maritime surveillance.




Context of the internship

Nowadays the increasing presence of microplastics in the sea represents a major problem of contamination for ecological niches that is breaking the balance of many ecosystems of oceanic fauna and flora. The problem has gained attention at global level, asking for countermeasures to reduce the negative impact on the environment. In 2008, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC) included microplastics as a parameter to measure. Environmental monitoring in the marine environment is quite critical and full of challenges. Coasts and open sea are monitored by several satellite systems that provide insightful research data but that also reveals the need for more detailed information. Current research techniques and experimental studies for detecting microplastics in open seawaters mainly rely on Earth Observation (EO) data. Such techniques are limited by the spatial resolution of the EO data with respect to the size of microplastics. In situ measurements provided by Internet of Things (IoT) devices can play an important role to improve the accuracy of microplastics detection systems.

The SPOT-ON (Spotting microplastics in Ocean with autonomous wireless sensors) project aims to study, design, and develop a new autonomous IoT device, able to monitor continuously the presence of polluting microplastics in the open seawater. 

Tasks entrusted to the Intern

  • Study the LoRa/LoRaWAN protocol
  • Set up a LoRaWAN network with real equipment
  • Investigate the impact of different PHY and MAC protocol parameters on the energy consumption of the end device
  • Propose different approaches (including modification of the LoRaWAN protocol) to optimise the energy consumption of the end device


  • Report on the experimental campaign and performance (energy consumption optimisation) analysis of LoRaWAN end device
  • Supporting documentation for all the HW/SW components used for the network set up, and the performance analysis



  • Knowledge of Internet of Things (IoT) communication protocols
  • Experience with MAC protocol design / optimisation
  • Development skills (C/C++, Java, Python, scripting languages)
  • Hands-on skills with IoT embedded systems
  • Basic knowledge of Linux based OS
  • English is mandatory


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