Ethical AI wins top prize in Threesis research competition

Pictured at the University of Galway Threesis Grande Finale were (l-r), second-place winner Ana Walsh, winner Louise McCormack, and third-place winner and audience choice Sofiia Tretiak. Threesis is the university’s research communications training programme and competition for postgraduate research students. Credit - Aengus McMahon.
Jul 08 2024 Posted: 11:12 IST

A PhD student whose research is developing a tool to score AI for trustworthiness has won University of Galway’s Threesis challenge showcasing the best research communications.

Twelve postgraduates took part in the Threesis Grand Finale, sharing the story of their research in just three minutes, using just three slides, in front of three judges and a voting audience.

Originally from Moate, Co Westmeath, Louise McCormack secured the top prize for her presentation - Scoring AI for Ethical Trustworthiness. She outlined how her research is helping to shape a future where AI is both powerful and ethical.

Through her PhD, Louise McCormack is conducting research to develop a tool to score AI for trustworthiness in line with the Seven Ethical Principles for Trustworthy AI developed by the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI. She is supported in her research by ADAPT, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology.

Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President Research and Innovation at University of Galway, said: “Threesis is one of the highlights of the year for our research community as it provides a snapshot of the ground-breaking research underway by our postgraduate research students. Our 12 finalists were outstanding in their ability to condense their complex and specialised research into just three minutes for a public audience. My congratulations to the winners and finalists, and also to the 80 students who participated in training and heats, and the many colleagues across campus who support this programme.”

Threesis is fast-paced research communications competition, with presentations covering a range of topics including saffron farming, solar-hydrogen, bioprinting, contemporary horror and improving road safety.

Second place went to PhD student Anastasija (Ana) Walsh, from Dublin, with her talk: ‘Extracellular Vesicles: Tiny but Mighty Messengers Suppressing Anti-Tumour Immunity’. Her research, at the University’s Lambe Institute for Translational Research, is funded by the Irish Cancer Society and focuses on extracellular vesicles - the tiny particles produced by all types of cells which help them communicate and influence each other. Her talk centred on how they may influence the field of cancer research.

The audience vote and third place went to Sofiia Tretiak, PhD student based in the University’s Ryan Institute, with her talk on ‘Seaweed Super Solution: Using Ocean Power for Human and Planet Health’. Her research is funded by the European Commission, Cybercolloids Ltd and the Irish Research Council. It explores novel techniques to extract commercially valuable seaweed compounds useful for food, agriculture, medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Ruth Hynes, Innovation and Engagement Officer at the University’s Research & Innovation Office and Threesis Programme Director, said: “Ultimately, we aim to maximize the societal benefits and impact of research at the University. Achieving this often requires our researchers to engage across disciplines, collaborate beyond traditional boundaries, and connect with a range of stakeholders. Effective communication skills are essential for researchers to succeed in these areas. The goal therefore of Threesis is to empower our postgraduate research students to make their research accessible and understandable."

The Threesis Grand Finale is the culmination of training sessions and competition heats in which 80 postgraduate students took part, before being whittled down to a final shortlist of 12.

The judges were John Crumlish, chief executive of Galway International Arts Festival, Sinéad Beacom, Head of the Researcher Development Centre at University of Galway, and Victoria Ward, the previous Threesis winner – with the university’s Dr Jessamyn Fairfield as MC.

The Threesis competition was initiated at University of Galway in 2012 and is open to all research students and postdoctoral researchers at the University.  

Videos of the winning presentations are available at


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