The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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Karen Church


Karen Church is a Data Science Leader who loves building great teams and using data to uncover insights, drive decision making and inform product innovation. As Director of Product Analytics & Data Science at Intercom, Karen leads a team of analysts, data engineers and data scientists across Dublin & London who help Intercom design, develop and measure the success of its products.  Her team use data to drive strategic decisions, inform product roadmaps and build new data products.

Prior to Intercom, she spent 8 years in industrial research labs conducting a range of scientific research at the intersection of mobile human-computer interaction (HCI), data science, and applied machine learning. Most recently, Karen led a team of research scientists at Yahoo Research in the Bay Area focused on large-scale mobile ad analytics. Her team investigated mobile ad recommendations, search algorithms, personalization, ranking and predictive modeling. She was also a Research Scientist in the scientific team in Telefonica Research in Barcelona working on HCI, mobile computing, recommender systems and search systems.

Karen holds a PhD in Computer Science from University College Dublin (UCD) and a BSc in Computer Science from the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB).   She has published almost 50 peer-reviewed research papers in top tier conferences in human computer interaction, mobile computing, information retrieval and recommender systems. To date her research has been cited almost 2,000 times. Karen is a huge advocate for women in technology and believes in the power of strong female role models.  She is founder HER+Data, a community focused on connecting, supporting and elevating women or people who identify as female who work in data. HER+Data has chapters in both Dublin and Manchester. 

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