Trinity College Dublin Announces Appointment of Professor John D. Kelleher as Chair of Computer Science (2016) and Director ADAPT SFI Research Centre

14 February 2024

Internationally renowned academic, Professor John D. Kelleher, is bringing his expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) where he has been announced as the new Chair of Computer Science (2016) at the University’s School of Computer Science and Statistics and Director of the ADAPT SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology.   The combined position will see Professor Kelleher taking responsibility for further enhancing Trinity’s leadership in the fundamentally important ICT area of AI and provide long-term strategic leadership and vision for the ADAPT Centre in order to achieve and sustain research excellence.  

Professor Kelleher has over two decades of research experience in artificial intelligence, a field that has witnessed significant transformation since the emergence of generative AI.  His research innovations have shown impressive abilities in a range of domains, from healthcare to the sustainability of AI models.  

Professor Kelleher’s research interests focus on harnessing AI to enhance the understanding and treatment of complex medical conditions.  For example, his work in stroke care is pioneering, utilising AI and digital twins in the Stratif-AI project to revolutionise risk assessment and enhance prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation throughout a person’s life.  Through the EU-funded Validate project, he’s developing a prognostic tool to predict outcomes for acute stroke patients, translating AI research into vital clinical tools.  Leading the data science efforts in RES-Q+, he contributes to a global initiative aimed at elevating stroke care quality, showcasing his commitment to impactful healthcare improvements through AI.  Additionally Professor Kelleher does a significant amount of research in natural language processing, including work on large-language models and machine translation, with a particular focus on improving the energy and data efficiency of these systems in order to make them more sustainable and applicable in low-resource contexts. 

He is the author of multiple books that have been widely praised for their intellectual rigour and accessibility and has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers in the fields of AI and Machine Learning in the last five years alone.  In addition, he has a history of successful collaboration with industry partners and secured over €11 million in competitive research funding from a variety of sources.

Professor Kelleher has excelled as an academic leader and educator, demonstrated in part through his role as one of the co-Principal Investigators and as institutional lead in the SFI Centre for Research Training in Digitally Enhanced Reality (D-REAL), training 120 PhD students across five partner universities.  He has won international praise for his ability to make his scholarship accessible to the wider public.  As such, he is considered to be one of Ireland’s most gifted communicators in the area of AI and machine learning.  

“I am deeply honoured to take up these positions which offer a unique opportunity to further integrate advanced research and practical applications in the rapidly evolving fields of computer science and AI. Through rigorous academic inquiry, Ireland has the potential to emerge as a key player in the field of artificial intelligence. This pursuit not only positions the country at the forefront of technological innovation but also equips it with the capabilities to tackle a myriad of critical issues facing the world today. I am determined to use my experience and proven ability to drive our core mission of education and research and I look forward to collaborating with our talented team and partners in the pursuit of pioneering research and education initiatives,” said Professor Kelleher.

Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Linda Doyle, said: “I am delighted to welcome Professor John Kelleher to Trinity and I wish him well in his new role as Chair of Computer Science and Director of the ADAPT Centre.  With his extensive research experience in Artificial Intelligence, John’s appointment underscores Trinity’s ambition to be an AI-empowered university. The opportunities and the challenges in this research field are immense, and I am looking forward to the creativity that John will bring to this space. John’s leadership of the ADAPT Centre provides great potential for further exciting developments in Digital Content Technology, an area in which ADAPT has really excelled in recent years.”

Professor Gregory O’Hare, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Head of School of Computer Science and Statistics, added: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Kelleher to the School; his intellectual real estate will further enhance the preeminent standing of the School as the highest ranked School of Computer Science on the island of Ireland (QS World University Subject Rankings). Professor Kelleher has a wealth of research leadership experience, an intimate knowledge of the Irish research funding landscape and a global vision that will help successfully navigate the ADAPT centre into the future.”

Director of Science for the Economy at SFI, Dr Siobhan Roche, said: “I congratulate Professor Kelleher on his appointment as Director of the ADAPT SFI Research Centre at TCD. AI technologies are accelerating at an unprecedented rate, disrupting and transforming the way we work and live. Prof Kelleher brings outstanding international expertise in this space, which will build on the ADAPT Centre’s success and Ireland’s international reputation for R&D excellence and innovation. I thank founding Director, Prof Vinny Wade, and Interim Director, Prof Dave Lewis for successfully driving the growth and achievements of ADAPT to-date, as we foster the responsible harnessing of these technologies, with huge potential to benefit Irish society and enterprise.”

Professor Vinny Wade, founding Director of the ADAPT Centre, said he was thrilled with ADAPT’s achievement in attracting a leader of such high calibre. “His deep understanding of the complexities involved in a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary centre is invaluable in coordinating and delivering an ambitious and diverse research programme. His established international research network and experience in leading large-scale international collaborations position him uniquely to lead ADAPT into a new era of innovation and global impact.”

Professor Kelleher was formerly a Professor of Computer Science at the Hamilton Institute  Maynooth University.  He succeeds former Director of ADAPT, Professor Vinny Wade and Interim Director, Professor Dave Lewis.

Listen to our ADAPT Radio podcast, “A New Direction with Prof John Kelleher” which is now live.