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Research and Innovation


Research Spotlight is a series where we shine a spotlight on the research being undertaken in DCU research centres. This month we are looking at Insight. You can find an archive of the previously featured research centres here.    

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is one of Europe’s largest data analytics research centres, with over 400 researchers, and more than 60 industry partners. The initial seed funding from Science Foundation Ireland in 2013 made Insight the largest non-capital investment in a research centre in Ireland.

Insight is co-led by four of Ireland’s Universities: DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD as well as a number of affiliated bodies. The overall research themes in Insight address basic and applied research in the areas of Semantic Web, Linked Data, Machine Learning & Statistics, and Optimisation & Decision Analytics with the DCU site concentrating on Media Analytics, Personal Sensing and Recommender Systems.  The size of the research centre allows for collaboration on a large scale, which enables the organisation to compete for funding and opportunities at a much higher level.

Insight@DCU is a multidisciplinary research centre with over 100 researchers based in the Schools of Computing, Electronic Engineering, Health & Human Performance and Chemistry. Beyond the core SFI-funded research, Insight researchers also collaborate with colleagues in the Schools of Mechanical Engineering, Communications, Nursing and Health Sciences, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Law and Government, Education Studies, DCU Business School and the Institute of Ethics.

Within the area of Media Analytics, we automatically analyse visual media (image, video) to describe its content; we identify implicit user behaviour when interacting with visual media using physiology and activity sensors, including EEG, and we use this to learn more about what people want as they interact with visual media. We are leaders in lifelogging (digitally capturing a person's whole activity) including digital footprints as well as using wearables, especially wearable cameras.  Applications for this are tracking behaviour change, memory support, security, job-related, diet monitoring, even validating insurance claims. We are also leaders in benchmarking visual analytics and in benchmarking lifelogging.

In the area of Personal Sensing, we use off-the-shelf sensors as well as building our own new, novel sensors to capture and sense human physiology. We can use chemical sensing to measure (human) glucose levels in tears via a contact lens, measure composition of sweat (pH and electrolytes), and of interstitial fluid. In Personal Sensing we are leaders in microfluidics, basically a chemistry lab with reagents and sensors, on a single "chip", used for environmental monitoring as well as human sensing.

Funding for Insight@DCU comes in part from the SFI Core grant and the rest comes either directly from industry (industry partners include Sports Surgery Clinic, Intel, Microsoft, InfoReady, Fujitsu, UES, FX Pal, Acquis BI, Performance Tracking Solutions, the Irish Times, SAP, Aviva Insurance, Synchronoss Technologies), other research funding agencies (Enterprise Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, Irish Research Council) and non-exchequer funding especially the EU programmes (H2020, COST, Marie Skłodowska-Curie).

The projects we undertake in Insight are extremely diverse and include work in life logging, wearable sensors, autonomous vehicles, chronic disease management and rehabilitation, machine learning, smart human-data interfaces, artificial intelligence, smart cities, and social media analytics.

For more information on Insight, please visit our website: www.insight-centre.org or contact Insight@DCU Director, Prof. Alan Smeaton or Insight@DCU Centre Manager, Dr. Breda Kiernan.