ICT innovator and entrepreneur Professor Barry Smyth presented with 2005 NovaUCD Innovation Award

The 2005 NovaUCD Innovation Award was today, June 15, 2005, presented to Professor Barry Smyth, Head of UCD’s Department of Computer Science. The Award was presented to Professor Smyth by Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD in recognition of his outstanding and continuing success in the commercialisation of his research since joining UCD’s Department of Computer Science in 1995.

Professor Barry Smyth

The NovaUCD Innovation Award was established in 2004 to celebrate outstanding achievement in the successful commercialisation of intellectual property arising from UCD research. The inaugural award was presented to Professor Mark Rogers of UCD’s Department of Zoology who developed a BSE or ‘mad cow disease’ test which to date has earned over EUR 1.5 million in royalty income for UCD.

Professor Smyth’s research covers a wide range of topics within Artificial Intelligence with a particular focus on personalisation techniques. Personalisation techniques look at ways to develop information systems that automatically learn about and adapt to the needs of the individual users.

 In 1999 Professor Smyth co-founded the mobile software company ChangingWorlds with Paul Cotter to commercialise the output of his research at UCD’s Smart Media Institute in the Department of Computer Science in the area of personalisation technology. Today ChangingWorlds develops leading multi-access, intelligent portal platforms for mobile operators and its clients include Vodafone Ireland, Vodafone Global, O2 UK, O2 Germany, Swisscom Mobile and the Slovenian Mobile Operator, Si.Mobil.

Since establishing ChangingWorlds, Professor Smyth has continued to focus on research and innovation within UCD and has developed a patent portfolio consisting of three related patents. These inventions are based on next-generation information retrieval technologies for improving the way people search for products and information online by enhancing the ability of modern search engines to cope with the type of vague queries that are commonplace on the Web. The initial patent is currently at the Nationalisation stage in six countries and the other two are at the PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty) stage.

ChangingWorlds was initially based in UCD’s Campus Innovation Centre, the forerunner to today’s Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at NovaUCD. The company was the overall winner of the 1999 NovaUCD Campus Company Development Programme.  ChangingWorlds, which is now located in South County Business Park in Leopardstown, has raised almost EUR 6 million in funding and employs about 50 people.

On presenting the 2005 NovaUCD Innovation Award to Professor Smyth, Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD, said, “It is fitting that in this the 150th anniversary of the founding of UCD we are celebrating not only the creation of knowledge but also the transmission of that knowledge through successful innovation and technology transfer, as evidenced by Barry’s achievements as an innovator and as an entrepreneur.” He added, “In this regard Barry has been extremely proficient in both the creation of an intellectual property portfolio and in the establishment of an exciting spin-off company, ChangingWorlds.”

Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD on congratulating Professor Smyth on winning the Award said, “Professor Smyth has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve excellence in research and scholarly publications while maximising the commercialisation of your research output for the benefit of the economy and society.” He added, “He is an ideal role model for young researchers seeking the inspiration to establish knowledge-intensive ventures that are so critical for the development of an indigenous high-tech sector in Ireland.”


15 June 2005

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, NovaUCD, email: miceal.whelan@ucd.ie, tel: (01) 716 3712

Editor’s Notes

Professor Barry Smyth holds the Digital Chair of Computer Science in UCD and is currently Head of the Department of Computer Science. He is also a Fellow of the European Co-ordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence and a Science Foundation Ireland  Investigator. He completed his BSc (Hons) in UCD in 1991 before completing his PhD in Computer Science in Trinity College Dublin in 1996. He has been a researcher in UCD since 1995 and worked as a Research Scientist in Hitachi Ltd (Dublin) between 1991 and 1995.

Professor Smyth has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, international conference proceedings, books and book chapters and has received major international research awards. He is a founding member of the Science Foundation Ireland funded Adaptive Information Cluster and manages a research group of 15 graduate researchers.

The NovaUCD Innovation Award has been designed by Colm Brennan, Sculptor of CAST Bronze Foundry. The award is a sculpture composed of a triangular form of polished Kilkenny limestone and a tapering spiral of bronze. The bronze spiral commences as a three-stepped path that resolves into a point as it ascends. The formal stone element represents existing knowledge while the dynamic spiral is a metaphor for research striving towards innovation.

NovaUCD is University College Dublin’s EUR 10 million Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre.  This purpose-built centre, nurtures new technology and knowledge-intensive enterprises.  NovaUCD has over 40 incubation units and provides innovators and entrepreneurs with the necessary support and knowledge to take their ideas from proof of principle to commercial success. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx. 

Eighteen high-tech, knowledge-intensive enterprises are currently located in NovaUCD.