Ireland’s data science leaders win big at DatSci Awards 2016

23 Sep 2016

Connected pins. Image: optimarc/Shutterstock

While 21 finalists were recognised for their achievements in data science, only six were selected for to win awards at this year’s DatSci Awards held in Dublin.

Held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the inaugural DatSci Awards 2016 saw over 200 industry leaders and specialists turn up for an event to celebrate the talent in Ireland’s data science sector and highlight its future in Irish business.

21 finalists were recognised for their contributions to the field particularly those who are the sector’s emerging talents, along with progressively thinking organisations and data scientists within Ireland.

Speaking last month, Edward McDonnell, director of CeADAR (the Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research), spoke of data science’s benefits.

“I think one of the great attributes that data science brings is better decision-making, greater objectivity in decision-making,” he said.

“Because, basically, your decisions are based on the hard data and facts rather than what we call the HiPPO – the highest-paid person’s opinion.”

DatSci Award winners

From left: Peter Cogan, Optum and Dave Sheehan being awarded Data Scientist of the Year. Image: DatSci Awards 2016

List of award winners

The award ceremony’s finalists were eventually chosen as the winners of six awards listed below:

  • Data Scientist of the Year: Dave Sheehan, AIB
  • Student of the Year: Kevin Brosnan, University of Limerick
  • Team of the Year for Academic Research: The National Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research (CeADAR)
  • Multinational Company of the Year Award: Pramerica
  • Indigenous Irish Company of the Year: Corvil
  • Best Start-up of the Year: Kinesis Health Technologies

Closing the ceremony was Laura Kennedy, head of data science recruitment at Next Generation, who said: “Until recently the value of data has not been recognised. However, businesses big and small are now moving into a digital age by harvesting this data and incorporating it into their decision-making throughout their business.

The DatSci Awards, we believe, will be one of the building blocks for Ireland to become the European Data Science Hub.”

Updated, 25 September 2016 at 4.25pm: This article mistakenly attributed comments made by Edward McDonnell to Linda Davis, CEO of Next Generation recruitment agency. This has since been rectified.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic