SMARTlab-IDRC is pleased to announce the award of Regional Development Funding to partner IMR in collaboration with SMARTab-IDRC and collaborators VR First, Microsoft, An Saol, Social Justice Repair Kit, Perrenial, Strive, VR Therapeutics et al.

Enterprise Ireland match funds will support the development of a cutting-edge VR/AR training lab at the IMR facility in Mullingar, and will fund crucial research into the uses of assistive tech and VR/AR and robotics to support digital skills training and jobs creation for People with Disabilities and ALL members of our rural communities.

Pictured at the launch event on Monday 11 December are: Barry Kennedy, CEO IMR; Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, Minister Heather Humphreys, Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Prof Lizbeth Goodman, Director SMARTlab-IDRC at UCD; Talha Kiraz, Public Relations Manager, VR First.

Pictured at the INCLUDE Project Stakeholder meeting at UCD Research on Wednesday 13 December are: Barry Kennedy, CEO IMR; Talha Kiiraz, Public Relations Manager Vr First, Prof Lizbeth Goodman, Director SMARTlab-IDRC at UCD; Mr John Barry, UCD DIrector of Strategic Partnerships, Rahel Demant, COO VR First, Dr Kevin Marshall, Education Lead Microsoft, Prof Denis Dowling, I-FORM PI, UCD MME.

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bo-award1) Bo was nominated to the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition in Pudong, Shanghai in November, 2014. Working with other team members: Professor Lizbeth Goodman, Nicola Herbertson (Virtual Worlds Manager) and the CEO of the Irish Zhida International company, Mr Yu Xuan Liu, her nomination was based on her current PhD research into virtual worlds and collaborative learning games and tools for cross-cultural exchange. Out of the long-list of 2500 nominations, she was selected for the second round, and finally named in the top 45 (out of 615 shortlisted projects) projects globally, winning a travel award to return to her native China to compete in the final round.

2) Bo has also been selected as one of 12 players to represent UCD in the International Ladies Gaelic Football Team 2015 in Shanghai, China, 19-26th October!

More info here.

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lizbeth1 lizbeth2For SMARTlab, a social enterprise founded in the UK at the OU BBC in the early 1990s, she has worked tirelessly, leading a team of scholars and technologists working together to invent and implement innovative technology tools for ‘real social change’ for marginalised and under-represented community groups and individuals, with an Inclusive Design Model enacted through each research project and performance. SMARTlab now supports PhD researchers within the Structured PhD in Education at UCD, leads major workpackages on Virtual Worlds for Learning and Games for Learning, and also regularly collaborates with industry and NGOS alike, engaging across sectors and cultures to work towards implementation of a more inclusive and empathetic society.

It is in her capacity as a global action researcher and visionary thought leader committed to embodied, genuine and deep community interaction and research impact that is scalable as well as socially vital, that Professor Lizbeth Goodman has been nominated and selected by a global community of peers for this prestigious award.


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Lisa-DomicanDoctrid ASSISTID associate researcher Lisa Domican has been announced as the joint winner of The IMAGE Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her pioneering work in developing the GRACEapp to assist communications for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Named for Lisa’s daughter Grace, the ‘app’ has changed the lives of many young people, families and communities. See

Check out the video “Imaginable intelligence – everyone deserves to be heard: Lisa Domican at TEDxDublin”.

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Dr Alison Williams has won the Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Contribution to Research in the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (ACE) at the University of East London!
Alison-Williams The prize has been awarded in recognition of the importance of her thesis in establishing a mediated link between creative behaviour and physical environment, thus redefining the previously held view that there was no supporting evidence. Alison’s thesis “A Grammar of Creative Workplaces” presents a visuospatial grammar of the elements of the physical environment that actively stimulate and sustain creativity in the workplace. The prize was presented at the ACE graduation ceremony, held in the Indigo, 02, London.

Click here to read the abstract.


Karolina Zawieska wins a Certificate of Merit in the UCD Images of Research Competition!
Alison-WilliamsThis prestigious award, previously held by SMARTlab PhD candidate Steve Cooney, brings Karolina international recognition. She has been awarded a cash prize and Certificate of Merit for the photo she took during the University Rover Challenge organised by the Mars Society in May 2013.The URC2013 was held in the desert of southern Utah, USA. The goal of the URC competition was to test Mars rovers built by student teams from different countries.

It consisted of multiple tasks, including the Astronaut Assisting Task captured in Karolina’s photo. The title of the image is ‘Hope’: It displays two simulated astronauts who are waiting to be found by Mars rovers. The photo illustrates collaboration between humans and robots that more and more often goes beyond merely physical interaction with machines. It is a part of Karolina’s PhD research into anthropomorphism in robots and the role the social machines will play in human societies.

Karolina’s image features on the website here.

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