DCU and ADAPT Centre Appoint World-leading Expert in Natural Language Processing

13 January 2021
DCU and ADAPT Centre Appoint World-leading Expert in Natural Language Processing

Dublin, 17 April 2020: Dublin City University is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof Lucia Specia, a leader in the field of natural language processing (NLP), which examines how humans can interact with computers using our languages.

Prof Specia has taken up a professorial role at the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing and within our SFI-funded ADAPT Research Centre, which is developing next-generation digital technologies for multimodal content. This is an international appointment and her other affiliation is with Imperial College London and University of Sheffield.

NLP involves building artificial intelligence (AI) models using large amounts of human-generated content in its many forms: text, speech, image, and video. Prof Specia’s research examines data-driven approaches to NLP, with a particular interest in multimodal and multilingual models at the intersection of language and vision. Her work has various applications such as machine translation, image captioning, quality estimation and text adaptation.

She is also the holder of a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant on “multi-modal context modelling for machine translation.”

The President of DCU, Prof Brian MacCraith, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Prof Specia to DCU. She is a talented and highly respected researcher whose work has important applications in advancing a range of digital communications technologies. Her expertise adds greatly to DCU’s world-class research team at the Faculty of Engineering and Computing and ADAPT.”

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computing, Prof Lisa Looney, said:

“Prof Specia’s appointment represents not only a very significant enhancement of a key expertise in the School of Computing, it adds new dimensions to leadership within the discipline here. All professorial appointments are of strategic importance on several levels, and this one certainly is. Lucia is a wonderful role model for early career researchers and teachers. Moreover, her effectiveness in developing an impactful research agenda while maintaining a strong international perspective is clear, as is the collegiality she shows in so doing. We are very pleased that she has joined the team in the Faculty.”

Prof Andy Way, Deputy Director ADAPT Research Centre said:

“I am delighted that Prof Specia has agreed to join the ADAPT Centre in the School of Computing at DCU for the next 3 years. The arrival of Prof Specia to ADAPT and DCU is a strong endorsement of what we have been doing for many years now: world-class R&D in NLP with a range of leading international partners in academia and in industry. Prof Specia is a terrific addition to the team, and I look forward to working very closely with her as we enter the second phase of ADAPT 2021-26.”

DCU has also confirmed that calls are now open for applications for the post of Full Professor of Computing in Natural Language Processing under the Senior Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI). The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work closely with Professor Specia, Professor Way and their colleagues throughout the ADAPT Centre in DCU and our seven partner universities. Closing date for receipt of applications is April 30th.

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