Professor Anya Belz will join DCU’s School of Computing as Professor of Computer Science (Natural Language Processing), working closely with ADAPT.

28 April 2021

Dublin City University today announced the appointment of Anya Belz to the role of Full Professor of Computer Science. Professor Anya Belz will join DCU’s School of Computing as Professor of Computer Science (Natural Language Processing), where she will work closely with the SFI ADAPT Centre for AI-driven Digital Content Technology. She joins DCU from the University of Brighton, where she is a Professor of Computer Science and leads the Applied Data Analytics Research and Enterprise group.  She previously was a postdoctoral researcher at SRI Cambridge after completing a PhD in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at Sussex University.

Anya’s research is in the intersection of machine learning and natural language processing and her publications span text analysis, automatic language generation, evaluation and image description. She has chaired two large-scale international research networks on computer vision and language processing, a series of summer schools on neural machine learning, and a series of international benchmarking exercises in language generation.

Her work has resulted in some of the earliest methods for statistical language generation (powering robust real-world systems, e.g. for weather forecast generation and image description for the blind), the introduction of comparative evaluation methods in language generation (enabling effective assessment of the relative benefit of methodological alternatives), and integrated approaches to vision and language processing (facilitating better methods for searching, annotating, and managing image and language data).

Anya’s research has been funded by 16 grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the British Academy and the European Commission (EC), and has been recognised by two best paper awards and the NLG nomination for the NAACL Test of Time award, as well as by advisory roles and senior reviewing appointments for funding bodies such as EPSRC and the EC.

Professor Andy Way, Director of ADAPT in DCU, said: “We are delighted that Anya will be joining DCU’s School of Computing. She will be embedded in the leadership of the ADAPT research theme in Digital Content Transformation, where world-leading expertise in Natural Language Processing, Machine Translation, Speech Technology and Image and Video Processing come together to address impactful cross-disciplinary research with economic and societal benefits for Ireland as well as internationally. Anya’s influential research in language generation and evaluation broadens the range of expertise in ADAPT, and expands capacity as we embark on the second phase of funding from 2021-26”.

The appointment has been made under the Higher Education Authority Senior Academic Leadership Initiative, which aims to help achieve gender balance at senior levels in the higher education sector.

A total of 45 posts across all HEI’s will be made under the Senior Academic Leadership Initiative over a three-year period in areas where there is clear evidence of significant gender under-representation, where the appointment will have significant impact within the HEI and the relevant faculty/ department/ unit; and where they would be a proportionate and effective means to achieve accelerated and sustainable change within an institution.