DCU teams up with AIB to appoint Ireland’s first chair in data analytics

Prof Tomas Ward to take up the role

From left: Yvonne Holmes, head of customer analytics and engagement systems, AIB; Bernard Byrne, chief executive, AIB; Professor Brian MacCraith, president, DCU; Professor Tomas Ward, AIB chair in data analytics, DCU. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

From left: Yvonne Holmes, head of customer analytics and engagement systems, AIB; Bernard Byrne, chief executive, AIB; Professor Brian MacCraith, president, DCU; Professor Tomas Ward, AIB chair in data analytics, DCU. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

 

Dublin City University has teamed up with AIB to appoint Ireland’s first chair in data analytics, with Professor Tomas Ward taking up the role.

Based in DCU’s School of Computing, Prof Ward’s research will focus on how data analytics can support decision making in business, and give insight into customer behaviour. 

“One area I will be exploring is how consumer attitudes to risk taking inform financial decision making,” Prof Ward said. “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.”

Prof Ward is joining DCU from Maynooth University. An internationally-renowned scholar, his previous research used data from sensing technologies to explain individual thoughts and behaviours.

The position is the first of its kind in the country. As part of the new role, Prof Ward will also be involved in the development of teaching and learning of data science in DCU.

“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,” said Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU. “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.”

The support of AIB will also allow DCU to recruit a post-doctoral research fellow and PhD student later this year.

The volume of data created by consumers and businesses every day has risen in recent years, and globally consumer create 2.25 quintillion bytes of data per day. How businesses can use this data to improve competitiveness, products and profitability is key, and has fuelled a growing industry that reserach firm IDC says will be worth $210 billion in revenue by 2020. 

“Gaining valuable insights from the large amounts of data collected is important for organisations and can deliver better decision making,” said Bernard Byrne, AIB chief executive.