Senior Academic Leadership Initiative

The Senior Academic Leadership Initiative (SALI) was launched by the then Minister for Higher Education in 2019 following analysis carried out by Ireland’s  Gender Equality Taskforce in 2018, which revealed that 52 per cent of lecturers in higher education, but just 27 per cent of professors, were female.

One of the Taskforce’s recommendations was the creation of new and gender-specific posts at appropriate levels that would create rapid and sustainable change in the representation of women in the senior professor grade.

The SALI scheme involved a competitive call for applications, open to Irish HEIs to apply for approval of posts under the scheme, and the call for proposals was managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS). The key objective of the SALI scheme is principally to attract outstanding female applicants both from within the sector currently and internationally to apply for senior academic positions in Irish HEIs.

The scheme will provide funding for 45 prestigious senior leadership posts over three years. Further details in relation to the SALI call can viewed in the {SALI Call for applications 2020}

Twenty of these posts were approved and filled in the first SALI cycle in 2020, and in November 2021, the Department for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science announced that it was approving a further 10 posts at senior level as part of the second SALI cycle.

IUA universities were successful in being awarded 26 of these posts. Meet some of the SALI appointees and learn more about the outstanding work they carry out:


Professor of Pure Mathematics, Trinity College Dublin

Link: Find out more

Description: Our School of Mathematics at Trinity hosts pure mathematicians as well as applied mathematicians and theoretical physicists. In my role, I am the head of the discipline of pure Mathematics, and I am expecting to become the Head of School next year. As such, my role combines research and teaching in mathematics with the task of forming and further developing my discipline and school.

The SALI Professorship for Mathematics is the third full professorship that I am holding; I find it particularly important and enjoyable to interact with, and at best to inspire, a new generation of mathematicians who have understood that skills and creativity in mathematics are entirely independent of gender. Therefore, it is high time to get rid of any gender-bias or other discrimination, which still exists and is noticeably undermining a healthy and fair development of the field.


Name and Title: ROZENN DAHYOT
Professor of Computer Science, Maynooth University

Link: Find out more

Description: My expertise is in the field of Artificial Intelligence applied to Image (Sensor Data) Processing, and I am principal investigator with the SFI research centres ADAPT and I-Form.

AI is a fascinating and very active field of research that will benefit from having diverse voices contributing to its making. Computer Science AI is and will impact many STEM/STEAM fields of research in the years to come, and it is great that the SALI scheme is supporting diversity in this field.


Name and Title: NORMA BARGARY
Professor of Data Science & Statistical Learning, University of Limerick

Link: Find out more

Description: As a Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, co-director of MACSI research centre, and UL vice-Director of the SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science, my research focuses on the development of new statistical models and algorithms for large-scale data measured using state-of-the-art sensor technologies.

My work develops ‘white-box’, interpretable models that answer fundamental questions about the world around us and empower better decision-making. My particular passion for accurate communication around the conclusions drawn from data is particularly relevant these days for bolstering our faith in science, and confidence that we are making well-informed decisions.


Name and Title: ANYA BELZ
Professor of Computer Science (Natural Language Processing) DCU.

Link: Find out more

Description: I joined DCU’s School of Computing as Professor of Computer Science (Natural Language Processing), and the SFI ADAPT Research Centre as Science Lead in the Digital Content Transformation Strand, in May 2021. I lead the DCU-NLG research group which focuses on language models for text generation such as GPT and Bloom, and the MSc in Natural Language Processing.

“Computer Science as a field has terrible gender balance and is moreover getting worse. Non-male genders face numerous barriers to progression in their careers which increase in scale with seniority, evidenced e.g. by promotion, publication, and funding success statistics. Schemes like SALI are vital if we are to make any progress towards levelling the playing field, and it would be great to see similar schemes across all career levels.”

SALI Cycle 1 Summary
Institution Title of Post Appointment Status 
Trinity Professor of Political Economy (2020),  1st June 2022, Professor commenced in post
 Professor of Mathematics (2020),  1st January 2022, Professor commenced in post
UCC SALI Professor of Microbiome & Health Science  

Filled. Start date 01 June 2021

SALI Professor of Irish Gender History, School Of History  

Filled. Start date 25 January 2021.

Maynooth University Professor in Computer Science in the area of Software Platform Architecture and Society Appointed and in post
Professor in Climate Change Not appointed as yet. To be readvertised in 2023.
University of Limerick Professor of Data Science and Statistical Learning Filled since January 2021
Professor of Genomics and Biomedical Sciences Filled since Sept 21
UCD Full Professor of Biomedical Engineering Appointee commenced 01/01/2021.
Full Professor of Materials Chemistry To be re-advertised
TU Dublin Professor of Inclusive Computer Science Education Filled
Professor of Public Engagement in Media, Arts and Technology Advertised. Not filled.
University of Galway Professor of Engineering First appointment October 2020.

An additional Professorial post in Engineering was authorised for offer by the College of Science and Engineering as part of a match funding commitment, and a second appointment anticipated early 2023.

Professor of Older Adult Health Post filled January 2023.
DCU Full Professor of Computing (Multimodal Information Processing) Filled May 2021
Full Professor of Plasma Physics Filled
Number of Posts 16 13
SALI Cycle 2 Summary
Institution Title of Post Appointment Status 
UCC  SALI Professor in Quantum Technology  Post offered Anticipated start date of 01 March 2023
Maynooth University Professor of Observational Astrophysics or Cosmology Interview Stage to be held in 2023
Professor of Intersectional Humanities Appointed, due to start in 2023
University of Limerick Chair of Biochemical Engineering Interviews scheduled for March 2023
Chair of Digital Engineering Interviews scheduled for March 2023


*Additional posts self-funded by University College Dublin to match their SALI allocation from the Higher Education Authority.

Full Professor in Sustainable Development

*UCD Funded Post

Filled. Appointee commencing 01/02/2023
Full Professor of Sport and Exercise Physiology

* UCD Funded Post

Filled. Appointee commenced 17/01/2023.
Full Professor of Pharmaceutical Engineering Appointment in process. Provisional start date of 01/03/2023
Full Professor of Sustainability Geoscience To be re-advertised
TU Dublin Professor of Innovation and Sustainability in Engineering, Construction and Built Environment Not advertised to date.
University of Galway Professor of Chemistry Appointment date March 2023.
DCU Full Professor of Sustainable Finance .


Advertised May 2022. Not filled To be re-advertised.
Number of Posts 10 SALI

+ 2 self-funded

4 offered/appointed


In relation to a third SALI Cycle, the HEA continues to maintain a reserve list of seven posts which were recommended in cycle two. The third cycle of SALI will remain deferred until these posts have been funded.