Prof Barry O'Sullivan wins Science Award

8 Nov 2021
Professor Barry O'Sullivan

A University College Cork (UCC) academic has been awarded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in recognition of his international engagement and leadership in the the area of trustworthy artificial intelligence, and especially his work with the European Commission and other international organisations in developing Europe’s approach to human-centric AI.

Barry O’Sullivan, Professor at the UCC School of Computer Science & IT was one of eight winners at the SFI Awards, announced today the the annual Science Summit which was held virtually.


On receiving the award, Prof O'Sullivan said:

“I’m honoured to receive this award, and I’m extremely grateful to Science Foundation Ireland for all the support over the last 20 years. I’d like to thank my colleagues at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, the SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence, the Confirm SFI Centre for Smart Manufacturing, and all my colleagues at University College Cork. I would like to acknowledge the many people at the European Commission and across the European AI community who I’ve worked with over the years. Our work on developing a European approach to Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence is critically important to Europe’s digital economy and its digital and societal wellbeing."

Acknowledging the award winners Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, said:

“The annual SFI Science Awards is an opportunity to recognise some of the very best achievements of our research community. I want to congratulate the award winners on their significant achievements, as well as their dedication and determination, in what has been another eventful and challenging year for our research community. I am confident that their success will be a source of inspiration to their peers and, more importantly, to the next generation of researchers in Ireland,” Prof Ferguson said.

Winner of the SFI Best International Engagement Award 2021, Prof O’Sullivan is the founding director of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at UCC, director of the SFI Centre for Research Training in AI, and principal investigator at the Confirm SFI Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing. He is a previous recipient of the SFI Researcher of the Year Award (2016).

Professor O'Sullivan works in the fields of artificial intelligence, constraint programming, prescriptive analytics (operations research), ethics, and public policy. He frequently contributes to global Track II diplomacy efforts related to AI. He is a co-founder of

Professor O’Sullivan served as Vice Chair of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence from 2018-2020. The HLEG-AI defined Europe’s approach to Trustworthy AI. Professor O'Sullivan is a Fellow and a past President of the European AI Association, and a current member of the Executive Council of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. He chairs the Advisory Board of the GRACE project at Europol, and advises the institute at KULeuven (Belgium) and the Computational Sustainability Network (USA).

In 2019 Professor O’Sullivan was appointed by Ireland’s Minister for Health to the Health Research Consent Declaration Committee. In 2020 he was appointed Chair of the Oversight Board of Health Data Research UK (North), led by the University of Liverpool. In 2021 he was appointed by the Minister for Health as Chair of the National Research Ethics Committee for Medical Devices.

School of Computer Science and Information Technology

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