Lizbeth is Professor of Inclusive Design for Education and Chair of Creative Technology Innovation at University College Dublin, where she directs SMARTlab and the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland at UCD. She was elected to Chair the Social Sciences Panel of the Irish Royal Academy in 2012. She has served as a Leonardo Advisor to the Science Gallery since 2011.
Previously, in the UK, she was Director of Research for Futurelab – Lord David Puttnam’s think tank for the future of education- and served in that capacity on the Prime Minister’s SHINE Panel. For RITSEC in Cairo, she serves as Director of the Genius Award Programme. She founded an Irish language Wisdom Award, the Duais Eagnaí, in Memory of the Late Daniel O’Haire in 2014.
She is well known as an expert in interdisciplinary Art-Technology initiatives including STEAM (Arts in STEM) and G-STEM (Women and Gender Balance in STEM) education challenges globally, with a specialism in the cross-over between disciplines and community engagement on a global scale. She and her SMARTlab team have developed numerous creative educational technology tools and convergent media solutions to the challenges of teaching and learning in the 21st century, for learners of all ages and levels of ability.
She is a professional presenter and communicator with many years of broadcast and social media experience. For the BBC, she researched and presented the Art Works Programme for six years on TV and radio. Since arriving in Ireland, she has served as Lead Education Expert for the TG4 television series BB Agus Bella (a magical world in which all the creatures are equally ‘abled’ in extraordinary ways) and is currently advising on two new children’s animation TV series. She is also the Education Expert advising on a new UCD Research project for SFI: The Scientist’s Apprentice STEM education book series.
In addition to her contributions to the field of Inclusive Education through co-production of the personalisable Inclusive Design Handbook with the Inclusive Learning EC Leonardo Consortium in 2014, she has also written and edited 13 books and many peer-reviewed articles and broadcasts. Having previously supervised over 34 PhDs to successful completion, she currently directs the UCD Thematic PhD in Inclusive Design, for which she supervises and mentors PhD and MA dissertations and industry/research council projects in the areas of: Creative Technology Innovation, Virtual Worlds, Inclusive Design, Digital Media, Future Foresighting, ICT4d, Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities and the Elderly, Technology Futures, Wearables and SMART Textiles, Performance Technologies, Assistive Tech, Technology Enhanced Learning for Health and Well Being, Connected Health, Personalised Electronic Health Systems, Digital Materialisation, Haptic and HCI integrated studies, as well as what Lizbeth calls ‘Meaningful Games’ or Mobile Games for Learning.
She leads a team of scholars and technologists working together to invent and implement innovative technology tools for ‘real social change’ via the SMARTlab International initiative, which trains PhD supervisors to support creative industry professionals in their practice-based doctoral studies in Ireland, the UK, the USA and Canada. She has delivered many dozens of international keynotes and has set up and led invited research and teaching programmes and contributed to media lab workshops in Morocco, India, Singapore, Korea, and Australia, as well as having undertaken a research/lecturing tour for Shell, and is currently working with both Microsoft and IBM on projects for their knowledge transfer programmes for community outreach and unlimited potential.
She has led multi-million euro research projects for the EC and industry collaborators, beginning with the RADICAL (Research Agendas Developed in Creative Arts Labs) Project she coordinated in the year 2000 for the FPV Programme, and is currently co-PI on two major research initiatives: the Learnovate Centre (Virtual Worlds and Games for Learning strand leader) and the ASSISTID Project (EC Marie Curie Co-funded, led by Respect), for which she is the Scientist in Charge of 6 full time Post-Docs and also serves as Academic Chair for the all-Ireland ASSISTID partnership. ASSISTID creates technology tools, media programmes and methodologies to support learners with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.
She is also a regular judge and evaluator for many international funding councils and foundations including SFI, the IRC, the Fulbright Commission (for which she is currently Chair of Judges for the TechImpact Awards), the Wellcome Trust, the Canadian Innovation Fund, SSHRC and the EC. She was chair of Judges for the European Commission’s HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) call in 2013-4, and evaluates for the EC on SaferInternet+ and Future Emerging Tech. She is currently collaborating with partners in the European Parliament on a new Roadmap for Responsible Open Innovation – what Lizbeth calls ‘Hippocratic Innovation: first do no harm. . . .’
In the knowledge transfer domain, she founded the MAGIC (Multimedia and Games Innovation Centre) in East London in 2005, bringing industry and NGO players together with scholars and artist-practitioners across disciplines in what was London’s first fully open source/open access 3D printing and games lab. For seven years, she worked with Microsoft on their largest ever community engagement project- (Clubtech), which has so far transformed the education of over 7 million children and young people worldwide. She founded the charity Safetynet in 2003, and currently serves as VP for the charity Special Effect (Oxford), as well as serving on the Advisory Board of the new Samsung Innovation Centre for the Children’s Health Fund (New York) and as advisor for the social enterprise Design21C.
She is a senior collaborator on several large grants for Innovation in Education in North America, and is a regular collaborator with Raising the Floor and the Inclusive Design Institute of Canada, where she is Visiting Prof for OCADU. She is also Visiting Professor at the Serious Games Centre of the University of Coventry, as well as a frequent visiting lecturer at NYU. She held a Visiting Professorship at the National Technological University of Singapore in 2004-5, and is due to take up a Visiting Professorship at the Northeast Normal University of China later this year.
In 2008, she was awarded the top industry prizes for Best Woman in the Academic and Public Sectors, and Outstanding Woman in Technology by Blackberry Rim. Most recently, she was selected by a global panel of industry, academic and NGO experts as one of the CSR Global Top 50 Most Talented Social Innovators: awarded in Mumbai in February 2015. Back in 2003, Lifetime TV broadcast a tribute Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service to Women and Children for her work on
SafetyNET, announced by billboard award in Times Square.
She is a woman of limited eyesight but of boundless vision and energy to engage in positive social and educational change.