Dr Des McLernon

Dr Des McLernon


Des McLernon  received his B.Sc in electronic and electrical engineering and his MSc in electronics, both from the Queen’s University of Belfast, N. Ireland. He then worked on radar systems research and development with Ferranti Ltd in Edinburgh, Scotland and later joined Imperial College, University of London, where he took his PhD in signal processing. His research interests are broadly within the domain of signal processing for wireless communications (in which area he has published over 340 journal and conference papers). He has supervised over 50 PhD students and is associate editor of IET journal “Signal Processing”. Recent conference organisation includes IEEE SPAWC 2010, European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO) 2013, IET Conference on Intelligent Signal Processing (London, 2013/2015/2017), IEEE Globecom 2014/2015/2016 (Workshop on Trusted Communications with Physical Layer Security) and the First International Workshop on Digital Technologies for Global Challenges (Leeds University, 27-28 June 2019).

Finally, in what spare time remains he plays jazz piano in bars and restaurants and  recently came second in the 2018 Leeds Pub Piano Competition (https://leedspubpiano.com) – which he now considers his most important “academic” achievement ! :-)


(A) COVID-19 UPDATE: On 17th May 2020 (and after) I posted five short videos on “TESTING FOR SARS-COV-2 VIRUS FROM AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE” and the channel can be found here:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsTlsHskxv7fDZ_PWT0X1fw

These are just looking at the similarities between the maths of virus testing and what we might also use on the first year of an undergraduate engineering degree. Finally, there is nothing mathematically more difficult than would have been studied in a UK school maths A-Level class.

  • Video 1: Introduction to the SARS-COV-2 virus and testing (30 mins)
  • Video 2: Calculating probabilities for the virus test outcomes (31 mins)
  • Video 3: Effect of changing the virus test parameters and ROCs (25 mins)
  • Video 4: Improving test results (24 mins)
  • Video 5: The basic reproduction number (R) and the dispersion parameter (K) for Covid-19 (48 mins)


(B) PODCAST – 5G/IoT/COVID CONSPIRACY THEORIES:  "5G Technology in the Covid Age: Saviour or Dystopian Future?”


In this 35 minute audio podcast for ‘Settee Seminars’ (Ilkley Literature festival), I will take you on a journey from the Ancient Greeks to the first cellular phone in 1979. Then 40 years later, we will arrive at today’s fifth generation (5G) cellular technology. I will show in particular why 5G wireless technology (unlike previous generations of cellular radio) will be both transformative and disruptive - enabling what is called the fourth industrial revolution of IoT and cyber physical systems. I will explain why 5G technology is much more than just a phone on which you can download videos faster. It is a new advanced wireless communications technology delivering and/or improving: the Internet of Things (IoT), industrial robotics, smart cities, smart healthcare, driverless cars, immersive reality, online gaming, robotic surgery, the tactile internet and advanced manufacturing. Finally, I will look at how 5G has become entangled with the covid denying, anti-vax, new world order, conspiracy theorists. (Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc.)


(C) YOUTUBE VIDEO: "Why do we need 5G and IoT?"


Similar to the audio podcaast above in (B) but now in ppt lecture/video format.

Research interests

Previous research projects include PHY layer security, M2M comms/caching in hetereogeneous networks, energy harvesting for comms, robotic communications, SDNs, distributed sensing, stochastic geometry, multi-packet reception, through the wall radar, drone small-cell comms and spectrum sensing for cognitive radio. 

His current research projects are:

  • On the Multiple Access and Coding Problems in Massive IoT”, funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) - a joint research collaboration between the University of Leeds, Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU) and the University of Manchester. PI (Leeds) Des McLernon, £263k
  • Drone Assisted Micro Irrigation”, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) - a joint research collaboration between the University of Leeds and the Hashemite University of Jordan. PI (Leeds) Des McLernon, £96k


  • BSc/MSc (Queen's University Belfast, N. Ireland)
  • PhD/DIC (Imperial College, London)

Research groups and institutes

  • Robotics
  • Institute of Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Sensing

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>