Human+ Research Programme Welcomes First Fellows

01 November 2021

The HUMAN+ project has appointed the first fellows as part of its five-year international, inter- and transdisciplinary Fellowship programme that will address human centric approaches to technology development.

Led by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and ADAPT, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology at Trinity College Dublin, HUMAN+ now welcomes Dr Kata Szita, Dr Nicola Palladino, and Dr Qian Xiao who will be hosted by both institutes.

Supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), HUMAN+ will appoint 18 two-year postdoctoral researchers over five years in order to create meaningful dialogue across disciplines and enterprise sectors. The programme aims to develop a network of professional researchers who can generate unique insights on how to place the human at the centre of approaches to technology development to ensure better long-term outcomes for the individual and wider society.

Meet the fellows: 

Dr Qian Xiao will be hosted by the ADAPT Centre, and her work will look at the development of computing technology with insights informed by the Arts and Humanities. Dr Xiao is from China and has been living in Ireland for the past 12 months. She will work with her academic mentors Professor Vinny Wade (School of Computer Science and Statistics) and Professor Keith Johnson (School of Education) to address the challenges encountered in embedding AI techniques in educational settings to enhance educational practices. Dr Xiao will investigate novel machine learning approaches for learner modelling with user behaviour data in intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) with a view to unveiling insightful patterns that can provide effective interventions in the education context. 

Dr Kata Szita is originally from Budapest in Hungary and has recently lived, studied and worked in Sweden and Finland. With a background in Cognitive Media Studies, Dr Szita will be based in the Trinity Long Room Hub probing technological developments from the humanistic perspective. Working closely with her academic mentors Professor Jennifer O’Meara (School of Creative Arts) and Professor Aljosa Smolic (School of Computer Science and Statistics), Dr Szita will study the effects of augmented reality on user behaviour. Her work explores how AR experiences, in which users interact with digitally created or modified human bodies on mobile devices, can impact on social behaviour and identity, social belonging, mental well-being, and prejudice.  

Dr Nicola Palladino studied at the University of Salerno in Italy and until recently was a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Law and Government in Dublin City University. He will also be based in the Trinity Longroom Hub looking at technological developments from the humanistic perspective. Dr Palladino will work alongside his academic mentors Professor Blanaid Clarke (School of Law) and Professor David Lewis (School of Computer Science and Statistics) to advance the discussion on how to embed ethical and human rights standards within AI design and to provide practical guidance to developers, deployers and other stakeholders on how to do this. As part of this project, he will develop a practical toolkit as well as draft recommendations on how to realise a proper regularly and governance environment for ethics and human rights in AI.

Welcoming the new fellows, Human+ Project Co-ordinator Professor Vincent Wade said: “I am truly delighted to be welcoming our first HUMAN+ Fellows to Trinity, who have been carefully selected as being the best in their class through a rigorous evaluation and selection process. These Fellows are the future research leaders in the area of human-centric approaches to technology innovation”

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Human+ Project Co-ordinator and former director of the Trinity Long Room Hub added: “As we welcome the inaugural HUMAN+ Marie Skłodowska-Curie CO-FUND Fellows to Trinity College Dublin, it is a moment to reflect on the importance of supporting inter- and transdisciplinary research. These Fellows will work on inter- and transdisciplinary research which will contribute to radical solutions for the monumental global challenges which we face as a society.”

To maximise the benefits of the programme to Enterprise and to be truly transdisciplinary, Human+ provides an opportunity for companies to engage with the research fellows throughout their two-year fellowship via its Enterprise Partner Programme. The programme was endorsed by NOKIA Bell Labs, Fidelity Investments Ireland, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Ancestry, and continues to have a long and successful relationship with Accenture The Dock through The Human Sciences Studio.

The second call for Human+ fellowships (for fellowships in the period 2022-24) is now open until Monday the 13th of December 2021.  A maximum of nine Fellows will be recruited across both strands. Call 2 to the HUMAN+ Fellowship Programme will consist of a number of application rounds with regular cut-off dates. Following each cut-off date, applications received will move forward to the evaluation stages allowing a fair competition between applying researchers. For cut-off dates and application procedures please visit our website