Meet the President: In conversation with Prof Willie Donnelly (2020)
Prof Willie DonnellyPresident of WIT
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 also Chair of the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG), a world class research mobile service and communications management research centre.
Prior to entering academia Prof Donnelly worked for 15 years in the telecommunications and utilities industries. He has led more than 30 Pan-European projects working with key international industry players such as Ericsson, D-Telekom, ATOS and Nokia. He is the Irish representative on the European member state Future Internet Forum. He is a founding member of the European Digital Enlightenment Forum which is an expert level Think-Tank providing guidance to Europe on Digital Policy.
Prof. Donnelly’s main research interest is in communications management with particular emphasis on autonomic network management, bio-inspired network management, internet of things and nano communications techniques and the challenges of managing the future internet.
Nationally he has led two HEA funded PRTLI projects, M-Zones and FutureCom. Both projects played a key role in establishing Ireland as a key research and innovation centre in communications management. He was Director of the Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Centre (FAME) whose industry partners include Cisco, IBM and Alcatel Lucent. FAME is recognised as one of the world’s leading research centres in communications management. He is a Co-PI on the SFI funded Principle Investigator Precision Dairy project and of the Science Foundation Ireland research centre Connect.
Prof. Donnelly established the WIT ArcLabs Innovation Centre in 2005, a unique research and innovation platform combining world-class research, entrepreneurial training and business development and high potential start-ups which has led to the creation of more than 500 jobs in the region. It has supported more than 200 industry/academic collaboration over the last 5 years.
The TSSG/ArcLabs has established a cluster of High Potential Start-up companies in mobile services at its research centre at Arclabs which currently employs more than 160 people. He is a founding member of spin-out companies FeedHenry and Zolk C. FeedHenry is a major player in the Enterprise Mobile Applications in the Cloud and Zolk-C is a world leader in location based interaction technologies for tourism.