ADAPT Recognition Awards 2023

15 December 2023

The ADAPT Recognition Awards celebrate and reward outstanding service, notable research excellence, contributions to society, and scientific collaboration and impact. This year we received an incredible response from the ADAPT community in the form of 67 nominations across the 6 categories. We are delighted to see ADAPT members recognise and rejoice in the success and hard work of one another. This year in total six awards were distributed to members who displayed these outstanding qualities:

Researcher of the Year Award

The ADAPT Researcher of the Year Award recognises those who have contributed greatly to scientific progress or who have had a significant scientific breakthrough.

Prof. Giovanni di Liberto, Assistant Professor in Intelligent Systems in the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, won this year’s Researcher of the Year Award for his breakthrough on the study of language development in babies. The findings were published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications and received significant media attention, featuring in the national British television channel ITV, online news such as the Irish Examiner and University news

The study could measure, for the first time, the emergence of linguistic processing in the brains of infants in their first year of life. This finding carries important theoretical insights, indicating that phonological processing starts emerging from about 7 months of age, supported by neural rhythmic processes that present much earlier methodological impacts. The study also represents an important methodological breakthrough in neural data analysis, as the framework demonstrated could potentially be used for early detection of language-related deficits.

Photo R-L: Giovanni di Liberto accepting the award from ADAPT Interim Director Prof. Dave Lewis.

The shortlist included:

  • Prof. Caroline Brophy, Professor in Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, for her many impacts to the Centre and her field this year, including but not limited to, the leadership of LegacyNet and LegumeLegacy doctoral network, researching sustainable farming, which led to the creation of 11 PhD positions as well as collaboration across other European and Canadian partners. Her November website launched on statistical modelling and launch/leadership of a new MSc Statistics and Sustainability course also indicate the exemplary nature of her work. As well as this, she was involved in ADAPT’S Innovating Women week and beyond this, has also managed to contribute to over ten papers this year alone, including multiple papers on the potato production practices in north-western Kenya.
  • Dr Harshvardhan J. Pandit, Assistant Professor in Dublin City University, for his tireless work to further extremely important research in the area of Ethical AI and Governance. He has published significant papers and has given numerous presentations internally and externally to ADAPT on Open Science and Data Management, Your Data, Your AI: Towards a Decentralised Future and Semantics for Implementing Data Reuse, Altruism under EU’s Data Governance Act and Semantic Interoperability of Legal Compliance From GDPR to Data Spaces. He has contributed to multiple proposals (MSCA DN, NGI Entrust, Horizon Europe) to fund his research further.


Early Stage Researcher of the Year Award

The ADAPT Early Stage Researcher of the Year Award recognises an individual’s research breakthrough and its scientific importance, whether it has been presented or accepted for publication in a peer reviewed conference or journal. PhD Students or Postdoctoral Researchers within two years of their postgraduate are considered.

Dr. Camille Nadal, post-doctoral researcher at Trinity College Dublin, has won this year’s Early Stage Researcher Award for her work in conducting a clinical study on the acceptability of smartwatch-based monitoring in the context of iCBT treatment for depression and anxiety in routine care. This Randomised Controlled Trial, conducted in the UK’s national health service was a hugely challenging undertaking from a research design and logistical perspective, and required careful consideration of ethics. 

Building on her previous work on the definition and theoretical modelling of acceptability of digital health technologies, the work impacts on the area of health by paving the way for wider deployment of these technologies in a mental health context. The work was carried out in collaboration with TCD spinout Silvercloud Health, contributing towards the innovation capacity of Irish industry. The research is published in the highly prestigious journal ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, impacting on Ireland’s reputation, adding to an extremely high quality publication profile for an early stage researcher, including three ACM CHI papers and high quality journal publications. 

Photo: Camille Nadal

The shortlist included:

  • Arthit Suriyawongkul, PhD Researcher at Trinity College Dublin, for his work directly influencing policy by contributing to a gender-sensitive AI policy-focused research report, which was submitted by the United Nations University Institute in Macau to the International Telecommunication Union Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in January 2023. The aim of the report was to inform gender-sensitive AI policy development in each of the focus countries and more broadly in Southeast Asia. Following this, he was also invited to take part in two events as a part of the “Digital Discourses 2023: Humanity in the Age of AI” conference organised by Goethe-Institut Jakarta to present his work.
  • Delaram Golpayegani, PhD Researcher at Trinity College Dublin, continues to go above and beyond in her research in AI and AI regulation. Her accomplishments this year include winning the Standards+Innovation Award for introducing research into standardisation, presenting her research at the SFI Summit and ADAPT Scientific Conference, and partaking in a secondment to the JRC of the European Commission in Italy as part of her work on PROTECT. Beyond her many academic accomplishments, Delaram has always been proactive in contributing to the betterment of the Centre, dedicating her time to event set-up, the Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and International Support workgroups, as well as her fellow PhD and researcher peers.


International Research Programmes Award

The ADAPT International Research Programmes Award recognises an individual who has made significant contributions in engaging with international research programmes, had significant success in winning funding or had a significant impact on the field of research or policy within such programmes.

Brendan Spillane, Assistant Professor in the School of Information and Communication Studies in University College Dublin, won the International Research Programmes Award for work on Vigilant, which kicked off in Nov 2022 and won significant backing from Horizon. Vigilant is set to equip the LEAs with technology to detect/analyse disinformation linked to criminal activity – thereby contributing a great deal to Ireland/ADAPT’s position within the field internationally. Brendan has also done an amazing job so far on Athena, which has a stronger focus on disinformation linked to foreign info manipulation.

Photo L-R: Brendan Spillane accepting the award from ADAPT Interim Director Prof. Dave Lewis.

The shortlist included:

  • Dalila Burin, Marie Sklodowska-Curie/Human+ programme fellow from the Computer Science and Engineering Research Strand,  for the amount of research and outreach she has delivered this year. Having only joined ADAPT in March, she has already made a huge impact in the field of IVR, having been chosen to lead the VRNeuroConnect in collaboration with the American BIOPAC Systems and Worldviz as well as the French Seenel Imaging. 
  • Dr Eileen Culloty, Assistant Professor in the School of Communications and deputy director of the Institute for Media, Democracy and Society in Dublin City University, for her contribution to the area of media literacy. She is an excellent collaborator with an ability to bring stakeholders together to advance media literacy research. This year Eileen has written multiple, high quality and novel research proposals with great efficiency in 2023 on top of her managing a number of collaborative projects. 


Education & Public Engagement Research Excellence Award

The ADAPT Education & Public Engagement Research Excellence Award recognises an individual, or a teams, outstanding contributions to society by effectively engaging and involving the public in ADAPT research.

The SignON team won this year’s EPE Award for their 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.This group has been involved in a number of EPE events in Ireland over the past 3 years of the SignON project. Most recently, in November 2023 they were involved in a round table discussion on Sign Language and AI where the discussion included an overview of the SignOn project, ethics, the future of Sign Languages and AI, and a screening of a short film that combines Shakespeare with machine translation.

The group are members of two Irish partners (DCU and TCD) and includes Rachel Moiselle, Dr Shaun O’Boyle, Dr. Elizabeth Matthews, Prof. Lorraine Leeson, Aoife Brady, and Lianne Quigley.

Photo: Aoife Brady accepting the award on behalf of the SignON team from ADAPT Interim Director Prof. Dave Lewis.

The shortlist included: 

  • Paul O’Neill, Postdoctoral Researcher at UCD, who made an outstanding contribution to bringing research to various publics in new, creative and exciting ways and providing unique opportunities for engagement and learning across a range of different projects including as co-organiser of the Beta festival of Arts & Technology. Overall Paul’s work is continuously focused on developing creative ways to help audiences engage, understand, explore, participate in and critique our digital world.
  • The Smart Healthy Ageing Think-In Team: A team from ADAPT in TU Dublin and DCU collaborated with the Centre for Smart Ageing in Farranfore, Co. Kerry to co-create and develop a #DiscussAI Think-In on the topic of Smart Healthy Ageing. The Think-In leveraged ongoing research in the area of Smart Healthy Ageing through the Hands On SHAFE project, and engaged more than 40 people to explore the role technology plays in our lives as we grow older. The team consists of the following members: Abdullahi Abubakar Kawu (TU Dublin), Betty Amamukirori (DCU), Fatima Badmos (TU Dublin), Damon Berry (TU Dublin), Emma Clarke (DCU), Micheal Core (TU Dublin), Laura Grehan (DCU), Lucy Hederman (Trinity College Dublin), Peterson Jean (TU Dublin), Gearoid Kearney (Centre for Smart Ageing), Paula Kelly (TU Dublin), John McGrory (TU Dublin), Emma Murphy (TU Dublin), Dympna O’ Sullivan (TU Dublin), Luke Quinlan (DCU), Helen Sheridan (TU Dublin)


Industry Collaboration Award

The ADAPT Industry Collaboration Award recognises successful industry collaboration by an individual whose contributions have significantly benefited the industry project or spinout.

Filip Klubicka, post-doctoral researcher based in Technological University Dublin, for his work on the NL2SQL Huawei project. His total commitment and dedication to ensuring a successful project outcome was demonstrated by his perseverance over many challenging months with outside stakeholders to ensure recognition of research results on the Spider leaderboard, which was crucial to the acceptance criteria by Huawei.

Photo R-L: Filip Klubicka accepting the award from ADAPT Interim Director Prof. Dave Lewis.

The shortlist included:

  • Julie Connolly, Project Manager, and Prof. Rozenn Dahyot, Professor of Computer Science at Maynooth University, for their work on the ai mapit spin-out, of which the GPS mapping and detection solutions could help reduce costs and the carbon footprint of monitoring and maintaining roadside assets. The project has received mentoring from the AWS Startup Loft Accelerator, and is also taking part in the InterTrade Ireland Seedcorn regional finals. The project has done amazing things for solidifying Ireland’s spot in GIS research.
  • Kieran Flynn, Business Development Manager, for his work in significant contract negotiations with a wide range of industry partners and prospective partners, information gathering, program capture and writing, contract amending and funding achieved with industry partners as well as in-kind contributions for Precision ALS.


Outstanding Professional Staff Member Award

The ADAPT Outstanding Professional Staff Member Award recognises a professional staff member for their exceptional dedication and notable contributions within the framework of their role. This award seeks to celebrate those with a track record of outstanding commitment to their work.

Claire Whelan, International Engagement Manager and Deputy Head of the Research Development Team, won the Outstanding Professional Staff Member Award for her significant contribution to the NENC team within ADAPT. She consistently delivers exceptional results and is deeply invested in the nature and quality of the proposals she works with. Her suggestions, feedback and support make an exceptional difference to the centre and her team.

Photo: Claire Whelan accepting the award from ADAPT Interim Director Prof. Dave Lewis.

The shortlist included:

  • Alex Irwin, Events, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, for her incredible multifaceted skill set, making significant contributions across centre communications, event management and centre logistics. Alex has demonstrated remarkable flexibility, often extending her skills and availability to multiple teams beyond her role and regular hours to support ADAPT during critical periods. Her exceptional dedication to guide and provide information and support to centre programs via website news pieces, conference preparations, staff integration and general information were also noted.
  • Aoife Brady, EU Research Project Manager, for her work in managing the award winning SignON project, navigating engagement with a highly multidisciplinary consortium that includes deaf and hard of hearing members. Throughout the 3 years of the project, she has been an exceptional colleague in delivering high standards in her support for the SignOn team. Her administrative support has been exceptional and essential for the SignON team to develop advanced research to enhance the quality of life of a substantially underrepresented Irish and European minority through reducing communication barriers.
  • Jennifer Collins, DCU Secretary, for her impressive, quick-thinking, problem-solving, way of working which, combined with her interpersonal skills, regularly leads to the on-the-spot resolution of issues before they have a chance to become real problems. She consistently seeks opportunities to improve processes and streamline operations, offering innovative solutions that enhance overall efficiency within our organisation. In particular, she has worked to make the weekly Operations Meetings more efficient, more interactive and more informative. 

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