Prof. Willie Donnelly

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Prof. Willie Donnelly

President of Waterford Institute of Technology
P: +353 (0)51 845500
Personal Summary

Professor Willie Donnelly was appointed President of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) having held the position of Head of Research and Innovation at the Institute for the previous 10 years.  During those 10 years, he secured in excess of €100m in research funding and has grown and consolidated its research competencies in a number of distinct areas; telecommunications, pharmaceutical and molecular biotechnology research, applied materials and eco-innovation.

Prior to entering academia he worked for 15 years in the telecommunications and utilities industries. He founded the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) at WIT in 1996, which has grown from 3 to 120 people and has received over €80M in competitive funding. He has positioned TSSG as one of Europe’s leading research centres in the Future Internet program and 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 and Chair of the European Concertation Board for the Future Internet PPP program. 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.

Professor Donnelly’s main area of research interest is the management of next generation networks. He has extended his work in this area to focus on smart agriculture and in particular the development of integrate communications management solutions and decision support systems for secure food production.

Nationally he has led two HEA-funded PRTLI projects, M-Zones and FutureCom and was director of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) strategic cluster, FAME.  He is a Co-PI on the SFI-funded Principal Investigator Precision Dairy project and of the SFI research centre, Connect.

Professor Donnelly established the WIT ArcLabs Research & 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 support more than 200 industry/academic collaborations over the last 5 years.

TSSG 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 the founder member of a number of HPSUs in the mobile service space including Feedhenry, Fuseami and Zolk-C. Red Hat Inc (NYSE: RHT) acquired FeedHenry for $82 million in October 2014.

Professor Donnelly is a members of the “Research, Innovation, and Science Policy Experts” (RISE) high level group (HLG) established by Commissioner Moedas.  RISE provides direct strategic support to the European Commission and to the European Commissioner for research, innovation and science.


  • BSc in Physics and Mathematics, Dublin Institute of Technology, 1984
  • PhD in experimental physics, University College Dublin, 1989.


  • Balasubramaniam, S., Barrett, K., Donnelly, W., Strassner, J., & van der Meer, S. 2006, “Bio-inspired Policy Based Management (bioPBM) for Autonomic Communication Systems”, in Proceeding of the 7th IEEE Workshop on Policies for Distributed Systems and Networks (Policy 2006), Western Ontario, London, Canada.
  • Balasubramaniam, S., Donnelly, W., Botvich, D., Agoulmine, N., & Strassner, J. 2006, “Towards Integrating Principles of Molecular Biology for Autonomic Network Management”, in Proceeding of the 13th HP OpenView University Association (HP-OVUA) Workshop, Nice, France.
  • Donnelly & J. Clarke, “Architecture for Location Based Application of Third Generation Operation Support Systems (AlbatrOSS) Smart Home-based Scenarios”, International conference on Computer, Communication and Control Technologies (CCCT 2003), Florida, USA;
  • Donnelly & C. Ryan, “ Value based billing in a 3G IP services environment”, SCI 2002, Orlando, Florida, July 2002;
  • W Donnelly, “Reusable Building Blocks for Telecommunications Integration”, DRCN Conference Budapest. Oct 7-10 2001;
  • W Donnelly, “Customisable Resource Discovery Service”, E-business and E-work Conference, Venice, Italy,17-19 October 2001;
  • W Donnelly et Al, “Federated Accounting Systems”, IM 2001 Seattle, USA;
  • W Donnelly, “Internet Based Inter-Enterprise Management”, IT&T Conference, 4-6 April 2001, Riga, Latvia;
  • W Donnelly, “Integrated Management Systems to Support Advanced Multimedia based Telecommunications Systems”, Networking 2000 Conference, May 2000, Paris;
  • W Donnelly, “Scenarios for the evolution of management systems”, IDC’99, Madrid, September 1999;
  • W Donnelly, “Evolution of Management Systems”, ATM Forum Conference Rennes, France, March 1999;
  • W Donnelly, “Emerging technologies and Architectures for Broadband communications networks”, Journal of Interoperable Communications Networks, March 1999 , September 1999;
  • W Donnelly, “Managing Multiprovider Networks”, Computer Communications, 22 (1999) 1628-1632 Elsevier;
  • W Donnelly and D. Lewis, “Service Management System Design Methodology for Multiprovider Telecommunications Networks”, Globecom, Rio, 1999;
  • W Donnelly, “Strategic Guidelines from ACTS Programme”, Advances in Telecommunications Management Conference, London, U.K, 10/11 November 1998;
  • W Donnelly & V. Wade, “A Design Process for the Development of Multi Domain Service Management Systems”, ATMForum Workshop, Rennes March 1998;
  • W Donnelly & V. Wade , “Supporting Tele-educational Services in an Open Service Market”, ED-MEDIA/ED-TELECOM 1996 (International conference on Hypermedia and Tele-communications in Education), Boston, June 1996;
  • W Donnelly, “Work Flow for the integration of architectures : TINA and NMF”, DNAC’98 Conference, Paris, France 1-3 Dec 1998;
  • W Donnelly & , P. Mc Loughlin, “ODP as a Unifying Framework for the Development of Cooperative Service Management Systems”, TINA-C Conference, Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 1995;
  • W Donnelly, “Implementation of TMN Management systems, Effective Network Management Systems”, Improving Service Quality for Network Operators, London, U.K, May 15-16, 1995;
  • W Donnelly, “Experiences in Multi-domain Management Systems Development”, Fourth IFIP/IEEE ISINM Santa Barbara, California, USA, 1995;
  • W Donnelly, “The PREPARE Management Information Service”, International Conference on Broadband Services and Networks, November 1993, Paris;
  • W Donnelly, “Managing Broadband VPN services”, International Conference on Broadband Services and Networks, November 1993, Paris.
Academic Supervision

Dr. Donnelly has supervised over 20 MSc and PhD students in the period 1996-2006 in WIT, and is currently supervising 5 Ph.D. students scheduled to graduate in September 2007. He is an external examiner for Athlone Institute of Technologies engineering department at undergraduate and postgraduate programme level. He has acted as external examiner for postgraduate students in engineering at TCD, Limerick, Paris VI, Université d’Evrys and University of Rome. He has helped develop core modules of the MSc (taught) in Communications Software in WIT.