Prof GP Hancke (Gerhard)









  • Professor


Professional Status

Registered as Professional Engineer (PrEng) at the The Engineering Council of South Africa in 1973. ECSA is a signatory to the Washington Accord.

Membership of Professional Societies

           Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE)  and member of the following IEEE Societies:

  • Communications Society
  • Computer Society
  • Education Society
  • Industrial Electronics Society

Research Focus and Opportunities

Advanced wireless sensor network and communication solutions for industrial applications. 

  • Physical Network Level: e.g. sensor hardware/nodes and communication, cognitive radio, energy harvesting.
  • Logical Network Level: e.g. localization, mobility, routing, intelligence, security.
  • Application Level: i.e. application of the above in industrial environments.

Opportunities for talented candidates are available on undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level.

Any student who is interested in working in these areas illustrated by the typlcal application projects listed below, is invited to contact Prof Hancke. 

Research Projects

Our primary goal is to collaborate with industry to investigate how advanced wireless sensor network and communication solutions can contribute to solving existing problems and challenges. Typical examples are listed below:

1. The Electrical Utility Environment

Work done with Eskom and international partners. Among many possibilities, the following are examples of issues that were addressed.

  • safety of staff (prevention of electrocution)
  • monitoring of transmission and distribution lines for improved performance
  • energy harvesting from HV lines

2.  Safety in Underground Mines

As a member of a consortium consisting of local and international research and industrial partners, we have been participating in two projects sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • technical feasibility of the deployment of gas sensors and communication in South African underground mines. [Completed.]
  • wireless sensing and communications for underground mining, covering aspects such as safety and real-time location, ventilation, air conditioning. [Ongoing].

3.  Smart Networks

Typical topics in collaboration with the Meraka Institute on Smart Networks.

  • Software Defined Wireless Sensor Network (SDWSN)
  • 5G for Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Network Security
  • Network Management
  • Smart Water Management System (SWMS)
  • Large-scale IoT-based Cyber Physical System (CPS)

Research Achievements

Prof Hancke founded the Advanced Sensor Networks Research Group in the Department in 2005 and since then became internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading scholar in advanced sensor networks (ASN) research. This is evident from the research achievements listed below. (He stepped down as Head of this Group mid-2017).

  • IEEE Fellow (2016) "for contributions to wireless sensor networks" in the category of Research Engineer/Scientist, conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors for an extraordinary record of accomplishments.
  • 4 of the 77 top 1% papers by UP within a research field (in positions 15, 18, 19 and 38) in the latest ESI (Essential science indicators) update, based on citations received since it was published, within the 10 years prior to 2016.
  • Scopus metrics: h-index = 21; 3900 total citations by 3352 documents (as on 2018-03-23)
  • NRF B-rated Researcher
  • He initiated and co-edited the first Special Section on Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks (IWSN) in the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (IF = 6.764) in 2009. This was very successful measured by the number of citations. The position paper he co-authored for this edition is considered seminal with 739 citations (Scopus as on 2018-01-06).
  • He co-edited a textbook on Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks: Applications, Protocols and Standards, published in April 2013, the first on the topic.
  • IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics Best Paper Award for 2012 for “Smart Grid Technologies: Communications Technologies and Standards”, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 529 – 539, November 2011 (IF = 6.764).
  • South Africa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) THRIP Technology Awards 
    • SMME Development Category (2007)
    • Advanced Hi-Tech Category (2011)

Professional Activities

Recent Publications


  • Information Technology Practice (1st, 2nd, 3rd year)*
  • Circuit Analysis (1st year)
  • Digital Systems (2nd year)
  • Design and Manufacturing (3rd year)
  • Computer Engineering Design (3rd year)*
  • Computer Networks (3rd year)
  • e-Business and Network Security (4th year)*


  • Computer Networks
  • Wireless Sensor Networks*
  • Advanced Microprocessor System Design
  • Industrial Instrumentation
  • Research Project - Theory*
  • Research Project – Design and Laboratory*


Address and Contact Details

Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Engineering 1 Building, 15-5 
Cnr Lynnwood and University Roads
University of Pretoria

Telephone no: (+27 12) 420-3736
Fax no: (+27 12) 362-5000
Email: [email protected]

Published by Gerhard Hancke

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