23 November 2023

SignON Receives Prestigious SFI Engaged Research Award

We are thrilled to announce that SignON has been honored with the Engaged Research of the Year Award at the 2023 Science Foundation Ireland Awards. This prestigious accolade was presented at the Research Summit, organised jointly by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council. The SignON project, a pan-European initiative led by Professor Andy Way of the ADAPT Centre at Dublin City University, is at the forefront of engaged research, reflecting our commitment to excellence and community involvement.

Lorraine Leeson (SignON TCD), Lianne Quigley (SignON TCD) and Dave Lewis (Interim Director of the ADAPT Centre) accepted the award on behalf of the SignON Team.

Lorraine Leeson (SignON TCD), Lianne Quigley (SignON TCD) and Dave Lewis (Interim Director of the ADAPT Centre) accepted the award on behalf of the SignON Team.

Engaged Research aims to improve, understand, or investigate an issue of public interest or concern including societal challenges and is advanced in collaboration with societal partners and this award recognises the important role of Engaged Research in enabling Science Foundation Ireland-funded research to deliver societal impact for Ireland. Historically, research on sign language technologies has predominantly been conducted by hearing researchers with limited understanding of sign language or the Deaf communities. This often led to outputs that were misaligned with the actual needs and cultural contexts of the DHH communities. This award recognised that the SignON project, in contrast, has placed Deaf experts and community members at the centre of the innovation process, ensuring that the technology developed is both meaningful and useful to its end-users.

The SignON project is a beacon of engaged research, embracing a co-creation process that ensures the technology is usable, useful, and accessible, while being applied in a responsible and ethical manner. The European Union of the Deaf has taken a leadership role in the co-creation work package, exemplifying the project’s commitment to Deaf leadership. The engagement process includes a variety of formats such as surveys, interviews, round-tables, workshops, and art-science projects, ensuring diverse input and perspectives.

Internal processes have been meticulously designed to integrate feedback from the DHH community and experts into the project. This has ensured that the voices of the DHH community are not just heard, but are instrumental in shaping the technology. Sign language linguists play a pivotal role in this process, ensuring that the technology is linguistically and culturally aligned with the needs of the Deaf communities.

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About SignON

SignON is a user-centric and community-driven project that aims to facilitate the exchange of information among Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing individuals across Europe, targeting the Irish, British, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish sign as well as the English, Irish, Dutch and Spanish spoken languages.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 101017255.
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