The winners of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Awards for 2023 were announced yesterday evening (20th November) at the Research Summit, a joint Summit hosted by SFI and the Irish Research Council (IRC). SignON, a pan-European research project led by Professor Andy Way in DCU, won the Engaged Research of the Year Award. This year’s SFI Awards featured ten categories, including an inaugural award for Supporting Green Transition.
The SignON project is a beacon of engaged research, embracing a co-creation process that ensures the technology is usable, useful, and accessible, while being applied in a responsible and ethical manner. The European Union of the Deaf has taken a leadership role in the co-creation work package, exemplifying the project’s commitment to Deaf leadership. The engagement process includes a variety of formats such as surveys, interviews, round-tables, workshops, and art-science projects, ensuring diverse input and perspectives.
Internal processes have been meticulously designed to integrate feedback from the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) community and experts into the project. This has ensured that the voices of the DHH community are not just heard, but are instrumental in shaping the technology. Sign language linguists play a pivotal role in this process, ensuring that the technology is linguistically and culturally aligned with the needs of the Deaf communities.
Commending the award winners, Prof. Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Through their innovation, creativity and tireless work, these researchers have striven to improve the world around them. SFI is delighted to recognise their efforts and achievements with these prestigious accolades. I want to offer my sincere congratulations to all the award recipients.”