Thursday 13th June 2024: Using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve brain tumour identification is just one of 10 research projects to benefit from a €1.3m investment by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, based at University of Limerick.

Announcing the research awards, Lero director Prof. Lionel Briand said the array of research topics selected for support shows how software is integral to every aspect of the world we inhabit.

“Lero is a world leader in software research. The centre fulfils a vital role in sustaining and developing Ireland’s reputation as a global hub of software research excellence and in maintaining Ireland’s position as a home for some of the world’s top technology companies. As well as attracting additional researchers, the Lero Research Awards incentivise and reward continued impactful and outstanding research among our membership nationwide.  

“Today, we are presenting 10 exceptional Lero researchers across Ireland with awards, which will allow them to hire postdoctoral researchers for two years to take on some really important work. These excellent postdoctoral researchers will join the Lero family to develop better and smarter ways of overcoming many of the obstacles we face today to foster job creation, innovation and competitiveness in software engineering and ICT,” he added.

Lero researcher Dr Malika Bendechache of University of Galway is one of the award recipients. She will lead a team researching the use of AI to accurately and swiftly delineate brain tumours. 

“This project will address challenges in using a sophisticated AI-based computer model on brain MRIs to enhance prediction and localisation of brain tumours. It represents a significant advancement in improving the prognosis and management of brain cancer, ultimately enhancing patient well-being, as manually delineating tumours on MRI scans is a challenging and time-consuming task that can vary among different physicians,” she said.

Another University of Galway researcher, Lero’s Dr Lorraine Morgan plans to use the award to examine the multi-faceted role social media plays among individuals who have experienced adversity such as grief, illness, trauma, hardship and other personal traumas.

The research will help us to understand coping mechanisms and support-seeking behaviours by studying how individuals contending with personal tragedies or other forms of adversity use social media for coping purposes. In this way, the research will contribute to understanding the role of digital technology in facilitating coping strategies and promoting resilience.

“We will examine people’s privacy perceptions, disclosure preferences and management strategies in online environments and analyse communication tools and features enabling individuals to interact and communicate remotely. This will provide valuable insights for policymakers, platform designers, and other stakeholders involved in developing and managing social media platforms,” she added.

Dr Ciarán Eising, Associate Professor at University of Limerick, will use the award to further his research into improving technology for driverless vehicles. 

“Radar is a key technology for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Driving, as it provides both the position of obstacles and information about how other obstacles are moving. However, radar is not perfect. This project will tackle the issue of low resolution, for example, by combining the radar information with camera information, cameras being almost ubiquitous on modern vehicles,” he explained.

Lero director Prof. Lionel Briand said these are just some examples of the research programmes Lero is supporting that will deliver solutions and insights to benefit society and the economy. 

The 10 Lero Research Award recipients 2024 are: 

Dr Malika Bendechache, University of Galway

Prof. Mark Campbell, University of Limerick 

Prof. Kieran Conboy, University of Galway

Dr Ciarán Eising, University of Limerick

Dr Lorraine Morgan, University of Galway

Dr Gillian Murphy, University College Cork

Prof. Gabriel-Miro Muntean, Dublin City University 

Dr Liliana Pasquale, University College Dublin

Dr Adam Toth, University of Limerick 

Prof. Anthony Ventresque, Trinity College Dublin