ADAPT Recognition Awards 2022

09 December 2022

This year we received an incredible response from the ADAPT community in the form of 73 nominations across the 6 categories. We are delighted to see ADAPT members recognise and rejoice in the success and hard work of one another. These awards recognise and reward outstanding service, notable research excellence, contributions to society, and scientific collaboration and impact. This year in total six awards were distributed to members who displayed these outstanding qualities:

Early Stage Researcher Award

Tochukwu Ikwunne won this year’s Early Stage Researcher Award for his breakthrough research on culture-centred user engagement design for mobile health in the global south. His research has also developed a framework the ‘DECENT Toolkit’ that approaches mHealth app design in a human-centric and culturally conscious way to elevate not only user engagement but also user experience. Tochukwu’s research has focused on the global increase in digital health interventions to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and treatment adherence, as well as HIV/AIDS education and prevention, immunisation rates, and communicable disease prevention. Beyond this, his research on helping improve user engagement contributes towards increasing the efficiencies of mHealth systems in the future.

The shortlist included:

  • Albert Navarro Gallinad for his development of a framework to enable health data researchers to link health and environmental data using Knowledge Graph (KG) technologies.
  • Elizabeth Hunter whose research has generated significant contributions to knowledge in the field of computational modelling for healthcare.


Education & Public Engagement Research Excellence Award

Aphra Kerr won the Education & Public Engagement Research Excellence Award this year.

Her work has contributed to the success of the ADAPT EPE programme at a number of levels in the last year and her research has had a huge impact on public policy in relation to digital technologies and education and awareness. Her research on the Flag for Removal project highlighted the difficulties and challenges faced by moderators in online social media platforms which was part of the Bias: Built this Way exhibition at the Science Gallery visited by 18,469 in-person attendees and 7,276 online visitors. Aphra has also contributed to the design and running of citizen think-in events, chaired the international Women’s day event ‘Beyond the workforce; how education in STEM impacts society’ and  engaged and stimulated public debate on the role of AI and algorithmic governance in Irish society. Her work has stimulated a broader debate on the use of AI in policing which has influenced Irish legislation. 

The shortlist included:

  • Brendan Spillane for his involvement in EPE projects as well as actively looking to create opportunities for engagement with multidisciplinary communities. Brendan has been involved with, and developed, multiple EPE projects over the years as well as bringing his own research to the public, policy-makers and industry.
  • Aoife Brady, Rachel Moiselle, Shaun O’Boyle for their hard work on the SignON Project which aims to bridge the communication gap between Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people through an accessible translation app.  In 2022, they co-created and developed a #DiscussAI Think-In with the EPE team. The Think-In explored how Machine Translation between signed and spoken languages should be developed, and how we can make sure the technology is guided by Deaf and hard of hearing communities.


Industry Engagement and Spin Out Award

Jamie McGann and Dr. Johann Issartel won this year’s Industry Engagement and Spin Out Award for their development of the MoveAhead spinout whose mission is to transform the way children interact with technology by powering third-party EdTech, digital games and movement learning experiences that get young people moving the ‘right’ way.

Shortlisted candidates included:

  • Anne English for her contribution to the Fidelity Investments Collaboration project. Anne has demonstrated excellent leadership and management capacity in steering a professional engagement through several iterative projects with Fidelity Investments over the last few years.
  • John Kelleher, Vasudevan Nedumpozhimana, Sneha Rautmare, Patricia Buffini and Maja Popovic for their work on the Optum Disease Surveillance project whose goal is to use social media sources for disease surveillance and early outbreak detection.


International Collaborator Award for Scientific Impact Award

Niall Murray won the International Collaborator Award for Scientific Impact Award for his role in leading and winning the 9 million euro TRANSMIXR project. This is an enormous success story and clearly fits the criteria for the International Collaborator Award for Scientific Impact. Niall played a pivotal role in driving this 19 partner consortium. TRANSMIXR is a groundbreaking new platform that will provide a distributed XR Creation Environment that supports remote collaboration practices, and an XR Media Experience Environment for the delivery and consumption of evocative and immersive media experiences. The project will develop ground-breaking AI techniques for the understanding and processing of complex media content and will enable the reuse of heterogeneous assets across immersive content delivery platforms. 

Shortlisted candidates included:

  • Ray Walshe for his success in the H2020/Horizon Europe work programmes. Ray is the coordinator of the StandICT2023 project whose central goal is to ensure a neutral, reputable, pragmatic and fair approach to support European and Associated states presence in the international ICT standardisation scene.
  • Brendan Spillane for research and leadership that has resulted in the success proposal of the interdisciplinary Horizon Europe project VIGILANT.  VIGILANT is a 36 month, €4m project with 18 partners from 11 countries and 4 sectors that will equip European Police Authorities with advanced technologies from academia to detect and analyse disinformation campaigns that lead to criminal activities.


Outstanding Professional Staff Member Award

Caitríona Campbell won the award for Outstanding Professional Staff Member for her exceptional dedication and innovative approach to ensuring that the true extent of ADAPT’s outputs and outcomes are reflected in reporting to the ADAPT Governance Board and SFI. Caitríona’s expertise and experience has led to the identification of hundreds of thousands of euro in unreported funding as well as many additional publications, conference presentations and other outputs relating to key performance indicators.

Shortlisted candidates included:

  • Claire Whelan for going above and beyond in her role as International Engagement Manager in ADAPT. Claire was the driving force behind the proposal that won the new Horizon Europe VIGILANT project with a perfect score of 15:15. Since then she has been exceptional in leveraging this success to open doors to new networks and funding projects.
  • Jane Dunne for her successful  coordination of one of the largest European project consortiums;the European Language Equality (ELE) project consisting of 52 partners.


Researcher of the Year Award

Finally, Malika Bendechache, won ADAPT’s Researcher of the Year Award 2022. She has published 13 peer-reviewed articles between Nov 2021 – Nov 2022. Malika’s research on multi-route feature extraction model for breast tumour segmentation in Mammograms using a convolutional neural network defines a strategy which leads to improvement in detecting the border of tumours and boosts the classification accuracy of tumours.

Shortlisted candidates included:

  • Annalina Caputo who has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals in 2022 including research on Videofall – A Hierarchical Search Engine for VBS2022, in Springer International Publishing,  Digitisation of metal AM for part microstructure and property control in the International Journal of Material Forming, AccTEF: A Transparency and Accountability Evaluation Framework for Ontology-Based Systems in International Journal of Semantic Computing, Unlocking digital archives: cross-disciplinary perspectives on AI and born-digital data in AI & SOCIETY and Kernel density estimation based factored relevance model for multi-contextual point-of-interest recommendation in Information Retrieval Journal
  • Mark Little who has published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Semantic Web Journal to describe the extension of the FAIRVASC rare disease ontology, with Joint Research Council Common Data Elements (CDE), and mapping to the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP RD) CDE ontology.  In addition, Mark has set up the ADAPT Health Working Group which has grown to consist of over 100 members both internal and external to ADAPT.


Congratulations to this year’s winners and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve next year!