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UCD Business team shortlisted to compete for €5 million Science Foundation Ireland Future Innovator Prize

  • Date: Wed, May 13, 2020

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Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, today announced that four UCD teams are among the twelve teams from across Ireland which have been shortlisted to progress onto the next phase of the SFI Future Innovator Prize.

Funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), this competition is part of an overall government plan to cultivate challenge-based funding in Ireland.

The two Challenges, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Societal Good Challenge and the Zero Emissions Challenge, are run in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Six teams have been shortlisted from each Challenge and at the end of a 12-month programme two overall winners will be announced. The AI for Societal Good Challenge and Zero Emissions Challenge each have prizes of €2 million.

Minister Heather Humphreys, TD said,

“I am delighted to announce that twelve teams will go forward to the next phase of the Future Innovator Prize competition. These teams are addressing key societal challenges Zero Emissions and Artificial Intelligence for Societal Good. I commend the researchers on their inspiring solution-focused ideas.

Now more than ever, we need to ensure that ongoing significant national and global issues including climate change, disease diagnosis and treatment continue to be addressed. Programmes such as the Future Innovator Prize empower our innovators to deliver creative solutions to important issues where we as a society will benefit.”

Two UCD teams, AI_PREMie and Greenwatch, have been shortlisted for the AI for Societal Good Challenge.

Greenwatch is focused on developing AI-based methods to detect greenwashing in order to improve the measurement of progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Team co-funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Members of the Greenwatch team include; Professor Andreas Hoepner, UCD College of Business; Dr Georgiana Ifrim, UCD School of Computer Science, Dr Yanan Lin, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Dr Theo Cojoianu, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and societal impact champion, Pat Cox, Chairman, Sustainable Nation Ireland.

Professor Andreas Hoepner, said, “On behalf of Georgiana, Pat, Theo, Yanan, and the entire Greenwatch team, we are delighted to have been shortlisted for the seed phase of the SFI Future Innovator Prize challenge.”

“Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, many corporations have been tempted to greenwash by conveying an inaccurate impression of their environmental sustainability, thereby misleading consumers, investors and policy makers.”

Our project is utilising AI methods to challenge this greenwashing temptation experienced by corporations.

“We are very much looking forward to the next phase of the programme and believe that Ireland is uniquely positioned to lead in this space, especially since our national tax revenues from fossil fuels are comparatively inconsequential."

The competing teams are led by academic researchers and ‘Societal Impact Champions’ drawn from a range of disciplines and stakeholder groups such as industry and civil society in an effort to support convergent and collaborative problem-solving.

Further information on all 12 shortlisted projects is available on AI for Societal Good Challenge and Zero Emmisions Challenge.

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