I visited DERI, located in NUI Galway, for their open day on April 6th 2011. Minister Sean Sherlock, TD, Minister for Research and Innovation, and himself a graduate of NUIG, opened proceedings with Professor Jim Browne, President of the University.
DERI is home to 140 research staff, half of whom are PhDs. The focus is web science research to enable networked knowledge across a variety of key sectors such as eHealth, eLearning, eGovernment, eBusiness and more. In the words of DERI researcher Dr. Giovanni Tummarello ‘we are drowning in information’. His research is making advanced contributions to tidy this up and make it easier to consolidate and access relevant information by creating a state of the art infrastructure that consolidates billions of pieces of metadata under one coherent umbrella. In my understanding, current search engines deliver links to different sources of information, DERI’s search engines deliver the consolidated information. See Sig.ma for more information.
Another area of particular interest to me is the application of DERI’s expertise to healthcare, a sector for which the Galway region is well known. The enablement of data integration a lá DERI can raise the efficiency of clinical research, and enable the self-management of disease by the patient through telehealth. Current projects tackle issues such as integration of sensor data with patient record systems, enablement of plug and play electronic patient records, and interoperability of eHealth systems.
The centre is buzzing with young researchers, appropriately interspersed with some elder lemons. The atmosphere in DERI is well summed up by Ronan Fox, who heads up the eHealth division of DERI:
“The DERI team is young, bright and enthusiastic. They want to change the world for the better and so do I!”