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DCU partners with AIB to appoint Ireland’s first Chair in Data Analytics

DCU partners with AIB to appoint Ireland’s first Chair in Data Analytics

In keeping with its reputation for developing expertise in areas of major technological significance, Dublin City University has announced the appointment of Professor Tomas Ward as AIB Chair in Data Analytics in DCU’s School of Computing.

This new chair position, the first of its kind in Ireland, has been made possible through the support of AIB and reflects the growing importance of data analytics in enabling both private and public sector organisations to gain valuable insights from the large volumes of data that they collect.

Globally, consumers now create 2.25 quintillion bytes of data per day. Using this data to improve competitiveness, products and profitability is a priority for companies, with research firm IDC predicting that revenue from commercial purchases of big data and business analytics hardware, software and services will grow to $210 billion by 2020.

As AIB Chair in Data Analytics, Professor Ward’s research will provide insights into customer behaviour and how data analytics can support decision making in business and healthcare.

Outlining his emerging research priorities for his new role, Professor Ward said:

“One area I will be exploring is how consumer attitudes to risk taking inform financial decision making. I am also interested in investigating how we can improve decision making in industries from banking to healthcare by making the results of advanced machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence more understandable to the employees who make decisions based on these insights.”

Professor Ward is an internationally-renowned scholar in the field of data analytics as applied to human behaviour monitoring and joins DCU from Maynooth University.

He is best known for neuroscience research that uses data from sensing technologies to explain individual thoughts and behaviours.

In his new role, Tomas will also take a leadership role in the development of teaching and learning of data science in DCU. AIB’s support will also enable DCU to recruit a post-doctoral research fellow and PhD student later this year.

Speaking on Professor Ward’s appointment, Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU commented:

“I am pleased that our international search has enabled us to secure a leading scholar in the field of data analytics who brings an outstanding research record and wealth of experience to the post.

Through his academic and research leadership, Tomas will support DCU in responding to the growing and increasingly critical need for data science skills both nationally and internationally.”

Bernard Byrne, AIB Chief Executive said

“AIB is delighted to sponsor the Chair in Data Analytics, which is in line with our focus on supporting innovation in Irish and global business thinking.

Gaining valuable insights from the large amounts of data collected is important for organisations and can deliver better decision making. We wish Tomas the very best of luck in this new role.”

The position is based in DCU’s School of Computing. The School is strongly research-active and staff members play a key role in a number of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres, including the Insight Centre for Data Analytics (, Ireland’s largest ever research initiative.

Within Insight Professor Ward will continue to strengthen and deepen his contributions in the area of augmented human science and technologies. Prior to joining Dublin City University, Tomas Ward was a professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering at Maynooth University and led a research group there focussing on neural interfaces. Tomas holds B.E. (1994), M.Eng.Sc. (1996) and PhD (2000) degrees from University College Dublin. A Senior Member of the IEEE since 2011, Tomas has authored more than 240 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He has licensed a range of technologies to industry since 2009 including sensor streaming technologies for e-health, over the air programming and mobile health applications. As a member of the Science Foundation Ireland-funded research centre Insight – Ireland’s Data Analytics research centre, Professor Ward studies how human health and performance can be better understood through new ways of sensing and interpreting our physiology and behaviour. Tomas is a keen advocate of hacker spaces and is a co-founder of Dublin Maker – the showcase of the maker movement in Ireland.

Pictured: L – R: Yvonne Holmes, Head of Customer Analytics and Engagement Systems, AIB; Bernard Byrne, Chief Executive Officer, AIB; Professor Brian MacCraith, President, DCU; Professor Tomas Ward, AIB Chair in Data Analytics, DCU.

30th May, 2018