Dr Kevin McGuinness DCU, standing beside wood panelling in a corridor

SFI Rapid Covid Response – two funding awards for Insight

Submitted on Friday, 18/12/2020

Two Insight projects have been awarded funding under SFI’s Rapid Covid Response round.

Dr Kevin McGuinness (Lead Applicant) and Prof. Noel O’Connor (Co-Applicant) (School of Electronic Engineering and INSIGHT Research Centre) have been awarded the project “Social distancing detection in airport surveillance networks”. This research proposal addresses the problem of compliance with current health and safety guidelines at Irish airports operated by the DAA. The project will formulate one of the present problems as the detection of social distancing violations from the existing CCTV airport camera network where individuals/groups who do not adhere to the two-metre guidelines can be identified. The project will deliver a solution that will be able to identify areas that have regular overcrowding to inform passenger flow management. This technology could be applied at any public transport hub and could greatly assist in providing insights to help to reduce crowd build up in busy public spaces.


Dr Andrew McCarren (Funded Collaborator) (School of Computing and INSIGHT Research Centre) for the project “Why are meat plants hotspots for COVID-19?”. The project is led by Prof. Grace Mulcahy and Prof.  Séamus Fanning (UCD). The project will analyse the COVID-19 virus in meat factories through diagnostic test results and changes in virus genetic sequence. The research will also explore the factory environment – including temperature, humidity and airflows throughout plants – and test an early-warning system that monitors waste-streams. Understanding how the virus spreads through meat plants and finding ways to anticipate outbreaks will help to protect meat plant workers from infection and thereby reduce the risk of the virus being spread beyond meat plants.