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Martin McGinnity

Martin McGinnity


Computer Science

Staff Group(s)
Computer Science


Martin is currently a (part-time) Professor of Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics in the Department of Computer Science at Nottingham Trent University. He leads the Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics research group at NTU. Previously he was Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Head of the College of Science and Technology.

Career overview

Martin joined NTU as Dean of the School of Science and Technology in March 2014. In August 2016, he became Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs and Head of the College of Science and Technology. Formerly, he was Director of the Intelligent Systems Research Centre, Acting Associate Dean of the Faculty of Computing and Engineering and Head of the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems at Ulster University.

He was also a Director of the Ulster University’s technology transfer company, Innovation Ulster, and a spin out company Flex Language Services. He was awarded both a Senior Distinguished Research Fellowship and a Distinguished Learning Support Fellowship from Ulster University in recognition of his contribution to research and teaching. Martin is a Fellow of the IETSMIEEE and a Chartered Engineer.

He retired from his post as PvC and Head of College in January 2018 and now focusses solely on research in a part-time capacity.

Research areas

Martin's Research Track Record

Martin remains an active researcher. His current research interests are focused on computational intelligence, and in particular on computational systems which explore and model biological signal processing, specifically in relation to cognitive robotics and computational neuroscience. His work addresses the creation of computational models of neural processing of visual, auditory or tactile stimuli, and the creation of artificial intelligent systems to emulate such sensory processes, with implementations in both software and reprogrammable hardware. His work on cognitive robotics addresses the issues of autonomous learning and skill building in mobile robotics.

He is the author or co-author of over 330 research papers and has attracted approximately £25 million to support his research, from a wide variety of funding sources. He also has a strong interest in innovations in teaching and learning and has attracted substantial funding to support implementation of technology assisted learning in higher education.

In terms of computational neuroscience he is particularly interested  in learning and memory studies of spiking neutrons grown on multielectrode arrays, working across the disciplines of neuroscience, biosciences and materials and computer science. His specific focus in robotics at present relates to the exploitation of modern tactile sensors in robot grasping, for applications in industry and  healthcare.

Currently he supervises one Postdoctoral Fellow at NTU and mentors one independent Research Fellow.

Previous PhD Student Supervision

Martin has (jointly) supervised to successful completion 34 students (R. McLellan, S.I. Salih, B. Roche, J. Harkin, E. Coyle, D. Coyle, A. Johnston, P. Kelly, Q. Wu, G. Leng, C. Carr, A. Belatreche, A. Ghani, B. Meehan, B. Glackin, P. Herman, P. Goyal, T. Strain, M. McBride, J. Wall, V. Gandhi, E. Obilze, I. Sirajuddin, G. Das, E. Gerlein, Scott McDonald, Augusto Gomez, Emmett Kerr, Jinling Wang, Yauheniya Shynkevich, Richard Gault, Benjamin Wingfield, Nick Weir, Nikesh Lama)

Current PhD Student Supervision

Currently, Martin is a PhD supervisor (joint) for 3 full time PhD students and 1 Part-time PhD student at NTU and three full time PhD students at Ulster University.

Martin's leads the Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robortics  research group at NTU. The group is one of four in the Centre for Computer Science and Informatics at NTU.

External activity

Martin is a current or former grant holder on a large number of national, international and EU projects with a total well in excess of £25million. He is a regular reviewer for national and international research funding organisations,  and journals / prestigious conferences and he contributes strongly to the research community. His research collaborations include projects with universities and companies through Europe, India, USA, and China among others. Currently he is a member of a consortium working on a US Ireland research proposal, with academic partners in the Republic of Ireland and the USA.  He has been an expert reviewer for the EU Framework programmes for over a decade.

Martin is a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.

Sponsors and collaborators

Martin’s research funding has included support from the European Union (13 grants), UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, N.I. Industrial Research and Development Unit, UK Dept. Trade and Industry, Leverhulme Trust, NI Dept. Education and Learning,  industry (Citi, Fidessa, First Derivatives, Singularity, NYSE Technologies), Udaras na Gaeltachta Ireland, N.I. Foresight Programme, Science Research Infrastructure Fund 2 and 3, HEA North South Collaborative Research Programme Nireland-Ireland, N.I. Dept. Enterprise,Trade and Investment, EU Interreg, InvestNI, Derry City Council, Enterprise Ireland, Intertrade Ireland and the ILEX Urban Regeneration (Derry).

While Dean of Science and Technology Martin played a major role in getting £10million HEFCE funding for the £13 million Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (ISTeC) facility at NTU. He was also instrumental in gaining external funding of £9.7 million for the £23 million Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF) at NTU.

Currently he is the lead proposer on a Derry City and Strabane District Council City Deal project entitled the Centre for Industrial Digitalisation, Robotics and Automation (CIDRA), a major £25million Industry 4.0 innovation proposal which has been approved to proceed to outline business case.


Some Recent Research Publications include:

For a  list of publications in the last six years, see NTU iREP.