Two Ireland-based PIs awarded funding by the European CHIST-ERA network

Posted: 11 January, 2021

The Irish Research Council is pleased to announce that two Ireland-based Principal Investigators have been selected for funding from the European CHIST-ERA network.

CHIST-ERA (European Coordinated Research on Long-term Challenges in Information and Communication Sciences & Technologies ERA-NET) is a coordination of national and regional research funding organisations in Europe and beyond and is supported by the Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme of the European Union through the ERA-NET Cofund scheme. The IRC is a member agency, providing support for Ireland-based applicants and awardees. See our CHIST-ERA funding page.

CHIST-ERA looks for transformative and highly multidisciplinary research projects to explore new ideas with potential for significant scientific and technical impacts in the long term. Each year, CHIST-ERA launches a call for research proposals in two new topics of emergent scientific importance. (The list of past call topics is available here.)

The two topics addressed in the 2019 call were Explainable Machine Learning-based Artificial Intelligence (XAI) and Novel Computational Approaches for Environmental Sustainability (CES).

Established experts based in Ireland are involved in two of the projects selected for funding through this prestigious and timely European research programme:

Dr Derek Bridge, a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and AI research and education in the School of Computer Science and Information Technology in University College Cork, is a Principal Investigator of the Intelligent Sharing of Explanation Experience by users for users (iSee) project. Dr Bridge is also a Principal Investigator in the Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics and a co-leader of the SFI Centre for Research Training in Artificial Intelligence.

The iSee project will show how users of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can capture, share and re-use their experiences of AI explanations with other users who have similar explanation needs. The project team will provide a platform using Case-Based Reasoning to capture experiences by enabling users to experiment with and evaluate explanations. Once captured, experiences can be reused, on the premise that similar user needs can be met with similar explanation strategies.

iSee will develop an ontology for describing explanation strategies; develop measures to evaluate their applicability and suitability; and design a representation to capture experiences of using explanation strategies. The project will exhibit a number of high-impact use cases and will work with real-world users to co-design the representations and algorithms described above and to evaluate and validate the approach. iSee will also propose possible routes by which companies could certify compliance with explainable AI regulations and guidelines.


Dr Paula Carroll, Assistant Professor at the School of Business at University College Dublin, is leading the project Supporting Energy Communities – Operational Research and Energy Analytics (SEC-OREA). Dr Carroll’s background is in electrical engineering with considerable experience in both academia and industry. She is founder and chair of the EURO WISDOM Forum to promote, support, empower, and encourage the participation of all genders in Operations Research (OR) and Management Science (MS).

The SEC-OREA project aims to enable local energy communities to participate in the decarbonisation of the energy sector by developing advanced efficient algorithms and analytics technologies. Local energy communities are an efficient way to manage energy by increasing the use of renewable energy sources at a local level. SEC-OREA aims to co-create an overarching local energy community enabling framework with stakeholders. The goal is to create technical tools to empower citizens and place them at the core of the Energy Union. The consortium brings together expertise from Business, Climatology, Computational Methods, Secure ICT, and Power Systems. They reach across the EU with researchers, innovators and stakeholders in Belgium, France, Ireland, and Latvia. Stakeholders include Codema, Smart Dublin, Met Éireann, Watt-IS, and municipalities and energy agencies in Latvia who support the development of local energy communities and a distribution system operator.

We wish Dr Bridge and Dr Carroll and their teams all the best with these ground-breaking new projects.

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