Four Trinity researchers secure SFI Public Service Fellowships

Posted on: 22 October 2020

Four Trinity researchers have secured SFI Public Service Fellowships that will see them work on specific collaborative research projects with Government Departments, agencies and/or the Library & Research Service of the Oireachtas.

The fellowships will foster innovation within the Public Sector by supporting the development and implementation of data-driven and evidence-based approaches. The fellowships led by Trinity researchers account for one-third of the 12 that have been awarded in total.

The four Trinity researchers who have secured the fellowships are Dr Claire McKenna, International Funding Manager, AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research and the CRANN Institute; Dr Boris Galkin, Research Fellow, CONNECT, the SFI Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications; Professor David Lewis, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science and Statistics; and Dr Cormac Ó’Coileáin, Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry and CRANN.

Dr McKenna will be hosted by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. She said:

“I am working on the development of a standard research classification system for tracking public investment in research. This is a deliverable under Innovation 2020, Ireland’s Strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology.

“A standard classification system will enable a greater understanding of how public money is spent across the Irish research ecosystem. I am looking forward to using my research background in the AMBER centre in Trinity to make a meaningful contribution to the development of future national research policy.”

The other three Trinity researchers who have secured fellowships will all be hosted by the Houses of the Oireachtas Library & Research Service.

Professor Lewis, who will be looking at the ethical, societal and economic impact of trustworthy AI and big data governance, said:

“As our lives become increasingly digitised, more power is concentrated in the hands of those able to collect and process our data using AI. We therefore must find how the voices of all affected stakeholders can be clearly heard when building AI systems, to as to ensure there is no datafication without representation.”

Dr Ó’Coileáin said:

“I will be looking at the economic, social and ethical implications of Nanotechnology as a Researcher in Residence at the Oireachtas Research & Library Services. 

It is an interesting opportunity to share scientific knowledge and experience – to help inform evidence-based development of policy within Ireland.” 

Dr Galkin will work on a project that assesses the economic, social and ethical implications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones).

Dr Galkin said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for socially distanced delivery services. Already, in Ireland, food and medicine is being delivered by drone. As this technology continues to become a more visible part of Irish life our elected representatives will need to have a good understanding of the issues surrounding it.

“With this SFI Public Service Fellowship I hope to leverage my expertise in the area to inform members of the Oireachtas and assist them in dealing with the issues raised by this technological revolution.”