Collaborative Research Project Wins Emerging Technology Innovation of the Year at 2024 Tech Excellence Awards

24 May 2024

The ADAPT Centre and Huawei have won the prestigious Emerging Technology Innovation of the Year award at the 2024 Tech Excellence Awards for their groundbreaking Natural Language to SQL (NL2SQL) translation system. This award celebrates the team’s pioneering efforts in making database content more accessible and revolutionising data management through artificial intelligence.

The award ceremony, held last night, brought together leaders and innovators from the tech industry. Billy Huggard, director of event organiser Mediateam, praised the winners, stating: “These Awards respect and reward the individuals and companies that compete in a constantly changing competitive environment. To be winners they are pioneers and leaders who raise the bar and give others the inspiration to achieve to the very best of their ability. We are so grateful that the Awards have themselves become recognised as a benchmark for success in our sector.”

Shena Brien, CEO of IP Telecom, the title sponsor, added: “IP Telecom is delighted, once again as title sponsor, to congratulate all those who were nominated for the Tech Excellence Awards – and of course to the well-deserved winners. Behind every award is the story of individual or team brilliance that has contributed something new to our Industry. Sharing those stories and honoring excellence is key to sharing ideas and innovations, allowing us to learn from each other and innovate further.” 

Pioneering Innovation and Impact

The NL2SQL project, developed over an 18-month period, addresses a significant challenge in making relational database management systems more user-friendly. By translating natural language queries into SQL queries, the system empowers users without specialised technical skills to interact with and retrieve insights from databases. This innovation is particularly valuable as businesses increasingly rely on data-driven decisions.

The ADAPT Centre’s collaboration with Huawei resulted in a number of key advancements in the field that have led to a highly adaptable and efficient NL2SQL system that is scalable across different data platforms and sectors.  The project also exemplified a forward-thinking approach to technology development, marked by a commitment to innovation, industry collaboration, and practical impact.

This award-winning project highlights ADAPT and Huawei’s dedication to advancing technology and improving accessibility in data management. The success of the project at the 2024 Tech Excellence Awards also demonstrates the potential for technology innovation as a result of industry and academic collaboration. 

The Tech Excellence Awards in association with IP Telecom were adjudicated by a panel of experts from industry, education and academia. This year’s panel comprised of Dr Eoin O’Driscoll (Tyndall National Institute), Dr Sean Baker (Lero), Dr Jim Mountjoy (Mountjoy & Associates), Peter McManamon (Atlantic Bridge Ventures), Ashling Cunningham (Irish Life), Louise Nicholls (Boku), Mary Cleary (CEPIS), Niall Kitson (, Bernie Cullinan (CXVP Global), and Peter Davitt (FIT).