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Meet 3 people breaking down barriers for Women in Technology

By 26th June 2018 No Comments

Recently, TSSG has made three key senior appointments in its organisation that also emphasise how TSSG recognises the importance and value of the role of women in technology.

Telecommunications Software Systems Group (TSSG) is a world recognised and leading ICT research centre based in Waterford Institute of Technology. TSSG works across the Research, Development and Innovation spectrum in areas such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Advanced Infrastructure, Future Network Comms and IoT, Creative Design (UI/UX) and process driven software engineering.  Located in the scenic WIT West Campus in Carriganore, TSSG boasts an international footprint through its strategic partnerships with industry and academic institutes.

TSSG’s Directors, Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam and Mr. Kevin Doolin, said “We are delighted to see Denise, Catherine and Frances, taking on these senior roles in TSSG, and we very much look forward to continuing to work closely with them as we build TSSG from strength to strength”

Denise Manton | Technology Gateway Manager

Denise Manton1“Working in TSSG has given me the opportunity to work on projects that are research and innovation driven, thus allowing me to be part of a team that is constantly pushing the boundaries; an opportunity that I am thankful for and value greatly. TSSG has supported my career progression from leading a research unit to now overseeing and growing the organisation’s commercial activities with industry partners. We must raise awareness amongst young girls that they can forge careers in technology that can lead to ground breaking change. The ultimate goal is for ‘women in tech’ conversations to be no longer a requirement, for it will be the norm for the ICT sector to have a gender balanced, diverse workforce which will propel research and innovation activities to greater heights.”

Denise takes over at the helm of the TSSG Technology Gateway which functions as the commercial interface of TSSG. The Technology Gateway funded by Enterprise Ireland and is part of an overall network comprising of 15 Gateways across 11 Institutes of Technology. Its purpose is to facilitate and grow collaboration between industry and research centres to progress Ireland’s global positioning on the research, development and innovation ladder, ultimately improving Irish economic growth. As Technology Gateway Manager, Denise facilitates collaboration between industry and TSSG researchers and engineers to ensure industry engagements deliver measurable commercial value. 

Since joining TSSG in 2013 (initially as a Research Unit Manager), Denise has led multiple successful Innovation Partnership, Innovation Voucher, Commercialisation Fund and direct industry funded projects across technology areas spanning mobile technology, cloud computing, pervasive sensing, algorithmic led movement and gait analysis and IoT. In 2014, Denise started to build a strategic focus between TSSG’s ICT research and the Life Sciences and Healthcare sectors. This has resulted in several innovative and research driven Connected Health/Life Science R&D projects; a vertical that TSSG continues to build with our industry and academic partners. Denise is also the co-founder of Presana Health; a start-up in the Life Sciences sector. Denise’s diverse industry background brings a blended mix of technical and commercial experience to the Gateway Manager role.

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Frances Cleary | MEPS Unit Manager

Frances Cleary1“TSSG as an organisation provides a positive ecosystem for women to advance their research Career and actively engage on an equal level with their peers, and this has been my experience over the last 14 years of working in TSSG. Young women and girls need to be reminded that this digital world we live in is not just for men. This has been proven time and time again through strong, talented and accomplished women breaking boundaries in STEM and influencing technological advancements. Encouraging Women in Tech is vitally important and something we need to maintain a high level of awareness around, to actively build out a strong and equal workforce for the future.”



Frances Cleary is currently Research Unit Manager for the Mobile Ecosystem and Pervasive Sensing (MEPS) Research Unit in TSSG, Waterford Institute of Technology, a unit with expertise relating to Pervasive sensing, Embedded Systems Communications and Bio-Nano Communications. Frances has multiple years of experience as an EU Project coordinator with responsibility for security research project clustering, leading to increased collaboration, dissemination, networking strategic research agenda’s, road mapping and research to industry translation. With 12 years’ experience of working in EU funded research projects Frances also, over the past 5 years, has specifically been focusing on smart and connected mobility research topics and has a direct interest in urban mobility, transport and automotive related research thematic areas. Frances’s unit is currently participating in the winning EU funded H2020 TransSec project that focuses on ‘Autonomous emergency manoeuvring and movement monitoring for road transport security’.

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Catherine Cunniffe | TSSG Delivery Manager and PSES Unit Manager

Catherine Cunniffe1“When I reflect on the last 20+ years of my career and think about what Women in Tech means for me? It absolutely is an industry that attracts more males than females so I asked myself, what was the attraction for me? When I was applying for Computer courses in 1992, I knew I wanted something new and exciting. It never crossed my mind that working in technology would mean working in a male dominated industry. I have always been in control of my career and all the companies that I have worked for have always supported me in developing my skills and career in technology. I would encourage every parent and educator out there to ensure that every young female has an opportunity and access to pursue a career in technology.

Catherine Cunniffe is the TSSG Delivery Manager for all industry related projects in the TSSG, and Unit Manager for the Professional Software Engineering Services (PSES) Unit in TSSG. Catherine manages a high performing, professional and committed team of Engineers who reliably deliver the following functions and services to Domestic and International clients: Design & Development, Software Engineering, Test Verification and Validation. Catherine brings over 20 years’ experience across a broad base of the IT and telecommunications industries from start-ups to multinationals.

Catherine has worked as Project Manager / Scrum Master for many of the projects in TSSG and is responsible for the testing oversight of multiple research and development projects in the telecommunications space, including design, development and testing processes. More recently Catherine is supporting TSSG’s international projects by delivering software solutions into our customer’s market places.

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