Launch of groundbreaking Human Centric Research Programme

13 January 2021
Launch of groundbreaking Human Centric Research Programme

Trinity College Dublin, ADAPT and the Trinity Long Room Hub launches Human +, a groundbreaking fellowship programme which places the human at the centre of technology innovation to serve the long-term and collective needs of society. The programme, Cofounded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, was ranked 2nd in Europe out of dozens of applications, for its unique approach to driving technological innovations from the human perspective.

In a special online panel discussion on the 11th of June, ‘Human+Technology Beyond Covid-19’, will mark the occasion of the launch, bringing experts from enterprise and academia together to discuss why technological design must begin and end with the human experience at the fore, in all of its diversity.

In a world where the word ‘zoom’ has become a verb, the role of technology is ever more prevalent. Rapid developments in information technology and the impact of AI, data centric automation and the mass adoption of online engagement have opened up new, unfamiliar frontiers in all areas of society.  Big data and machine learning are challenging the nature of the human experience and transforming our experience of social interaction, medicine, governance, entertainment, journalism, and privacy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a glimpse of how a technology-based future can impact our daily lives across all levels of our society. Amplified by social isolation, it is imperative that we study the implications and opportunities of the digital impact on humans, both in the present crisis and beyond Covid-19.

ADAPT and the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute will address this opportunity through the Human+ programme, which connects Computer Science with Arts and Humanities researchers and enterprise to forge a human-centric approach to technological innovation.

Cofunded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Human +is a five-year international and interdisciplinary fellowship programme that will create a unique research and training collaboration that integrates expertise and insights from the Arts, Humanities and Computer Sciences, as well as real-world scenarios from industry and enterprise.

Speaking ahead of the launch Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College said:

“With increasing calls for human-centric approaches to critical questions concerning the rapid expansion of adaptive technologies and their impact on humanity, the securing of the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Action for Human+ to address these questions has never been more timely.  The Human + programme places Trinity at the forefront of innovation through collaboration between Arts & Humanities, Technology and Industry partners to address real-world problems from the human perspective. These programmes are incredibly competitive and I was particularly delighted to see that this COFUND was ranked second in Europe.”

ADAPT Director Prof. Vinny Wade calls on Enterprise to collaborate with the programme :

“Enterprises are recognising the rapidly emerging macro trend around the concept of human-centric technology to meet societal needs.  We encourage organisations to collaborate with us to realise the benefits of human-centric technology informed by expertise from gender, culture, language, creativity and ethics to drive both business goals and societal impact. “

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Director, Trinity Long Room Hub, Arts & Humanities Research Institute said:

“Many of the world’s most pressing problems today require solutions beyond the scope of one single discipline or industry. The alignment of technology and interdisciplinary research that explores the human experience delivers the potential to advance our fundamental understanding of the role and impact of technology from the human perspective. Tomorrow’s solutions must be informed by the insights of the Arts and Humanities, forged with technological breakthroughs of Computer Science & Engineering and mobilised within the enterprises of the future.  “

Online Launch Event: Human+Technology Beyond Covid-19

To mark the launch of Human+, a special panel discussion Human+Technology beyond Covid-19 will take place on Thursday, 11th June at 7.30pm as part of the Trinity Long Room Hub ‘Behind the Headlines’ discussion series. The discussion can be viewed through Zoom and through Facebook Livestream. The Panelists include expert voices from Trinity’s Arts and Humanities, Computer Sciences and from the world of Enterprise:

ADAPT Director Prof. Vinny Wade will focus on intelligent systems, AI and Personalisation, arguing that the co-creation between computer science and humanities is essential to ensuring that the human is at the core of new technology –including the latest tracking apps for Covid-19.

Jennifer Edmond is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of Strategic Projects for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in Trinity College Dublin and the co-director of the Trinity Center for Digital Humanities. She will explore the ‘Zoom exhaustion’ phenomenon looking at the research she is leading with DARIAH-EU to pinpoint the differences between Zoom and Face-to-Face meetings, and the limits and opportunities of virtual interaction.

Ann Devitt is Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Director of Research at the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin, and academic director for Learnovate. She will discuss the virtual learning environment and how Covid-19 has affected social relationships which are fundamental to the learning experience, prompting us to reflect on what the future of learning might look like post-Covid-19.

Lorna Ross is Chief Innovation Officer with VHI Health & Wellbeing. With a design career spanning 30 years, Lorna recently participated in RTE’s Big Life Fix, challenging a group of leading designers, engineers, computer programmers and technology experts to create inventions that will transform people’s lives. Looking at the wider impact of technology on healthcare, Lorna will discuss the relationship between human and machine based on a career designing for the body and her understanding of how technology has developed during this time.

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