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Professor Willie Donnelly was appointed President of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in April 2015, having held the position of Head of Research and Innovation at the Institute for the previous 10 years. He is founder of the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) which carries out research into mobile services, internet of things and communications management. Prior to entering academia Prof Donnelly worked for 15 years in the telecommunications and utilities industries.
His main areas of academic research interest are the management of next generation networks. He has extended his work in this area to focus on smart agriculture and in particular the development of integrate communications management solutions and decision support systems for secure food production.
Nationally, Prof Donnelly has led two HEA-funded PRTLI projects, M-Zones and FutureCom and was director of the SFI Strategic Cluster FAME. He is a Co-PI on the SFI-funded Precision Dairy project and of the Science Foundation Ireland research centre, Connect. He has led more than 30 Pan-European projects working with key international industry players and academic leaders. With a strong interest in regional economic development, Prof. Donnelly has been a key driver in the establishment of a cluster of mobile services companies in the South-East of Ireland. He is founder member of a number of High Potential Start-up Companies including Feedhenry which was acquired by Redhat in 2014.
Prof. Donnelly is a member of the European "Research, Innovation, and Science Policy Experts" (RISE) high level group (HLG) established by Commissioner Moedas. RISE gives direct strategic support to the European Commissioner for research, innovation, and science and to the European Commission. He is the Irish representative on the European member state Future Internet Forum and is also a founding member of the European Digital Enlightenment Forum which is an expert level Think-Tank providing guidance to Europe on Digital Policy.
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Principal Investigator (PI) leading a €6m research cluster “The Federated, Autonomic Management of End-to-end Communication Services (FAME)” which follows on from a previous Strategic Research Cluster (SRC) on Autonomic Management of Communications Networks and Services (AMCNS). It brings together the major Irish based academic (TCD, NUIM, UCD, UCC) and industry (CISCO, IBM, Alcatel Lucent) players in the telecommunications management space.
Dr Donnelly is also PI on the HEA PRTLI (Cycle 4) project Serving Society: Management of Future Communications Networks and Services investing the management of user centric services in Next Generation Networks (Future Internet). The academic partners include Interaction Design Centre in the University of Limerick and the Hamilton Institute in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
WIT, under the scientific leadership of Dr Donnelly, is leading the €0.45m CeFims project. CeFims (EU FP7) is analysing future Internet research initiatives at national, regional and trans-national levels. The project aims to create synergies and reduce duplication and fragmentation in European Future Internet research.
INFINITY (EU FP7) is a strategic initiative at European level developing infrastructure support and capacity building for the Future internet community. The project is producing recommendations, roadmaps, tactical actions and strategies for the implementation and uptake of the next generation Internet across Europe.
PERCOLATE (EI Competence Centre) will investigate innovative social and informal learning methods and applications by researching and evaluating techniques and research demonstrators using state of the art social discovery, collaboration and personalisation technologies. Partners include Trinity College Dublin (lead), Clarity, Deri, TSSG, Cisco and Intel.
Dr Donnelly has supervised over 20 MSc and PhD students in the period 1996-2011 in WIT and is currently supervising 5 PhD students. He is a founder member of the PRTLI Cycle 5 Structured PhD Programme – Telecommunications Graduate Initiative (TGI). He is an external examiner for Athlone Institute of Technology Engineering Department at undergraduate and postgraduate programme level. He has acted as external examiner for postgraduate students at Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Université Paris VI, Université d’Evry and University of Rome.