About the Research Cluster

The Emerging Risk Group (ERG) was developed by founding members Prof. Martin Mullins and Prof. Finbarr Murphy in 2007, to develop a new context of academic research that was informed by private and public knowledge requirements. The first focus of the group concerned risk metrication in the context of insurance attentive to a changing private and public emerging risk environment and market. Since that time the group has collaborated with SUN and grown in strength to offer a dynamic and unique research model. One of the key strengths of the ERG is in its ability to respond to an ever-changing dynamic and fluid array of emerging risk fueled by a new paradigm of emerging technologies. To respond to this new phenomenon of emerging technological risk the group has built a collaboration of members that collectively present one of the most unique risk focused knowledge basis and research paradigms on offer today. ERG has built upon its key areas of insurance, nanotechnologies and Cloud LSVA to be a part of the new European funded Horizon 2020 consortia concerning the development of Vision Inspired Driving Assistance Systems (Vi-DAS).

Finbarr Murphy

Professor Finbarr Murphy is Executive Dean Kemmy Business School, a computer engineering graduate, Finbarr worked for over 10 years in investment banking before returning to academia and completing his PhD in 2010. Finbarr has authored or co-authored over 70 refereed journal papers, edited books and book chapters. His research has been published in leading research journals in his discipline such as Nature Nanotechnology, Small, Transportation Research A-F and the Review of Derivatives Research. A former Fulbright Scholar and Erasmus Mundus Exchange Scholar, Finbarr has delivered numerous guest lectures in America, mainland Europe, Israel, Russia, China and Vietnam. His research interests include quantitative finance and more recently, emerging technological risk. Finbarr is currently engaged in several EU H2020 projects and Irish Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) projects.


Professor Martin Mullins is Senior Lecturer in Risk and Insurance in the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. He worked on a number of insurance-related research projects, including four EU Commission funded projects around emerging technologies and risk transfer. Two of these focused on nanotechnology, including http://www.sun-fp7.eu/ with the others on assisted driving systems, namely VIDAS and Cloud-LSVA funded under the MG3.6 and ICT 16 calls, respectively. Dr Mullins maintains strong links with the international insurance industry and works closely with Lloyd’s of London and XL Catlin on emerging risk. High impact outputs from this research include Mullins, M., et al. "The insurability of nanomaterial production risk." Nature nanotechnology 8.4 (2013): 222-224. His work also encompasses the area of Applied Ethics as it pertains to new technologies. In the field of Applied Ethics, Dr Mullins works closely with the insurance industry and lectures on cultural and technological breakthroughs of high societal relevance. In that respect, Dr Martin Mullins has been appointed to a European expert group to advise EIOPA on the development of digital responsibility principles in insurance. 

Members of the Group

The ERG has built a strong reputation internationally as a solid partner that delivers on project outcomes. The group adopts a distinct interdisciplinary ethos which allows us to examine issues from not only a risk transfer perspective but also from legal risk and applied ethics standpoints. One of our unique selling points resides in our ability to bridge the gap between Europe’s scientific community and the insurance industry. In terms of research impact, we are working on two of the most valuable emerging technologies in Europe, assisted/automated driving and nanotechnology. The group has had two recent papers published in the Nature Nanotechnology, the most prestigious journal in the field. In both these areas, the involvement of the insurance industry as a key stakeholder is essential in order to facilitate the development of these technologies. We leverage our links with the London insurance market, including Lloyd’s of London and XL Catlin in order to bring the risk transfer/management perspective into research consortia working in these fields. The future roll out of automated driving will imply changing patterns of liability and hence the insurance industry will be an important stakeholder going forward. We are currently working with a number of insurance partners to create new underwriting protocols in order to facilitate growth in this dynamic industry.


Dr Barry Sheehan is a lecturer in risk and finance in the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick. He holds the course directorship role for a cluster of award-winning inter-disciplinary programmes, including the MSc in Machine Learning for Finance, the MSc. in Computational Finance, and the HCI awarded Grad. Dip. in Artificial Intelligence in Finance. In his research, Dr. Sheehan investigates novel risk metrication and machine learning methodologies in the context of insurance and finance, attentive to a changing private and public emerging risk environment. He is a researcher with significant insurance industry and academic experience. With a professional background in actuarial science, his research uses machine-learning techniques to estimate the changing risk profile produced by emerging technologies. He is a senior member of Emerging Risk Group (ERG) at the University of Limerick which has long-established expertise in insurance and risk management and has a continued success within large research consortia including a number of SFI, FP7, and EU H2020 research projects. In particular, he contributed to the successful completion of three Horizon 2020 EU funded projects including PROTECT, Vision Inspired Driver Assistance Systems (VI-DAS) and Cloud Large Scale Video Analysis (Cloud-LSVA). These consortia are predominately driven by technical objectives and our role is one of assessing the legal, ethical, and actuarial impact of the state-of-the-art innovations.

Darren Shannon

Dr Darren Shannon  is a Lecturer in Quantitative Finance in the Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Limerick, and a researcher in the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). Prior to receiving his PhD in Applied Statistics, he completed an MSc. in Computational Finance, and a BSc. in Mathematics. He has contributed heavily to two EU H2020 research projects (VIDAS and Cloud-LSVA) that identified and addressed emerging risks associated with conventional and highly-automated vehicles. Darren continues to be engaged with the research community on facilitating the timely integration of advanced-tech vehicles onto public roads. His research focus is split between developing high-impact outputs for emergent topics in finance (green finance, application of ML/DL models), and for transportation safety and risk pricing (econometrics of road collisions, the insurability of connected and autonomous vehicles).

Dr Martin Cunneen is currently working on a number of EU Commission funded research projects relating to ethics and emerging technology, these include the VI-DAS and Cloud-LSVA consortia’s. He has carried out research in polythetic methods of conceptual analysis, specifically in relation to emerging technologies. He has over 8 years’ experience teaching applied ethics and numerous other modules. He currently lectures on the subject of Risk and Governance of Emerging Technologies, and the Philosophy of Science. His previous work has ranged from commercial ICT projects, community-based technology programs, to consulting on Big Data analytics projects. His current research focus is on the ethics of driverless car decision ontologies, machine morality, data privacy, the philosophy of A.I and the anticipatory ethical analysis of emerging technologies and data privacy.

Florian David-Spickermann is a Postgraduate working for SCOR Global P&C Reinsurance. Alongside his work in the Underwriting Department, he is currently researching the impact of automated vehicles along the value-chain between the primary and reinsurance sector. Hence, he is involved in EU projects VIDAS and Cloud-LSVA funded under the MG3.6 and ICT 16 calls respectively. Due to his educational background and occupational activity, Florian has strong ties with the primary and reinsurance sector enabling him to assess automated driving especially in the context of actuarial issues and insurance risk theory. Applying the basic principles of insurance theory on this emerging risk and demonstrating the limits of the current underwriting approach is the subject of his first paper.

Dr Fabian Pütz is a PhD student and Research Assistant at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, as part of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). He is researching in joint cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Cologne (Technische Hochschule Köln), where he is member of the research centers for “Financial and Actuarial Risk Management (FaRis)” and “Reinsurance”.  Fabian’s research focus is centred on the potential strategic impacts of an increasing automation and interconnection of road vehicles to the insurance market with regards to the affected lines of business motor insurance, product recall and product liability. In detail, he evaluates the potential impacts of technical and legal developments to inherent risk characteristics, product design and competition-related aspects within the different lines of business.

Dr Cian Ryan is a PhD student working under Dr. Finbarr Murphy and Dr. Martin Mullins at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. His research centres on emerging technologies and insurance as part of an Emerging Risk Group. He is currently working on two EU commission funded projects, VI-DAS and Cloud-LSVA, relating to autonomous and connected driving and is a student member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. His recent publications include “Semi-Autonomous Vehicle Motor Insurance: A Bayesian Network Risk Transfer Approach”. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 82 (2017): 124-137.

Irini Furxhi

Dr Irini Furxhi is a Ph.D. scholar with a Msc in Toxicology at the University of Limerick at Kemmy’s Business School. Her main research is a Quantitative Machine Learning approach for Risk Assessment of nanomaterials. She is involved in the PROTECT Project (Pre-commercial lines for production of surface nanostructured antimicrobial and anti-biofilm textiles, medical devices and water treatment membranes, http://protect-h2020.eu/) where existing Risk Assessment frameworks and Machine Learning Techniques will be used to best represent the human and environmental risk to business decision makers.


Tim Jannusch is a PhD student at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, as part of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). In collaboration with the Institute for Insurance Studies (ivwKöln), TH Köln where Tim is Research Assistant at the Research Center for the Insurance Market, he is researching in the field of telematics.  His research focus is centred on the issue of data privacy and surveillance in telematics use. In doing so, he differentiates between the insurance market in Ireland and Germany. Due to the dedication of the University of Applied Sciences Cologne to the InsurLab Germany e.V. Tim is directly involved in the German and International InsurTech scene.


Dr Arash Negahdari Kia is a postdoc Marie Cuire scholar and research fellow at the Kemmy Business School (KBS), University of Limerick, a member of Lero Software Research Center and Emerging Risk Group (ERG). He is researching on the cybersecurity risks of autonomous vehicles using machine learning algorithms in a team supervised by Dr Finbarr Murphy at KBS, UL. In his PhD. He developed two graph-based semi-supervised algorithms for multivariate time series for global stock market indices prediction. In his Master’s, he developed neural network models for Forex market prediction. Arash’s other research interests include text mining, graph mining, and bioinformatics. 

Wei Xu is a PhD student at the Kemmy Business School (KBS), University of Limerick, as part of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). He is researching in joint cooperation with the Fudan University in China, where he is a research assistant of the China InsurTech Laboratory (CITL). Instructed by Dr. Finbarr Murphy at KBS and Dr. Xian Xu at CITL, he develops research focus on the emerging applications and generated risks of InsurTech. He was involved in the projects of “Roadmap of Artificial Intelligence Application in China Insurance” and “Knowledge Graph of China Disease Insurance”.


Leandro Masello is a data scientist at Motion-S, and a PhD student at the Kemmy Business School (KBS), University of Limerick, as part of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). His industrial research project, supported by the National Research Fund of Luxembourg and entitled RADICAL, centres on risk assessment and data-driven pricing models for connected and automated vehicles. Leandro has a background in computer engineering, with an MSc thesis in objective driver risk profiling using road safety statistics for insurance telematics applications. His current research interests include connected and automated vehicles, machine learning, risk assessment, and car insurance pricing.

Mahsa Mirzaei

Mahsa Mirzaei is a PhD student, working under Dr. Finbarr Murphy and Dr. Martin Mullins at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Mahsa's current research focuses is on the Toxicologic Risk Assessment of Nanoparticles by implementing Machine Learning methods to predict human health and ecotoxicological hazard as part of the Emerging Risks Group. Her previous research studies focused on different techniques of toxicity assessment based on her educational background in pharmacy. She is currently involved in the H2020 funded project. Mahsa’s other research interests include drug discovery and Machine Learning, antioxidant properties of medicinal plants and their influence on human health, and adult neurogenesis.


Juliane Ressel is a PhD student at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, as part of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). She is researching in cooperation with the Institute for Insurance Studies (ivwKöln), TH Köln, where she is working as a research assistant at the Research Center for the Insurance Market. She has been awarded a three-year sponsorship funded by the Mathilde-von-Mevissen program at TH Köln. Juliane has professional experience in risk management and insurance gained through a position at a registered Lloyd’s broker in London. Her research focus is centred on an interdisciplinary examination and critical analysis of the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data Analytics (BDA) by the insurance industry. The principal aim of this research is to create a bespoke governance framework to ensure consumer protection.


Frank Cremer is a PhD student at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, as part of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). He is researching in joint cooperation with the Institute for Insurance Studies (ivwKöln), TH Köln, where he is working as a research assistant at the Cologne Research Centre for Reinsurance. His current research interests include cyber risks, cyber insurance and digital ecosystems. In this context, he examines the countries of Ireland and Germany. Frank is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (FCII) and a member of the German Association for Insurance Studies (DVfVW).

Kevin McDonnell

Kevin McDonnell is a PhD student working under Prof. Finbarr Murphy and Dr. Barry Sheehan at the Kemmy Business School (KBS), University of Limerick and is a member of the Emerging Risk Group (ERG). His research focuses on driver behaviour modelling and risk analysis using telematic data. Kevin also has a research interest in Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Kevin’s research is co-funded by Greenval insurance and Lero, awarding him a three-year scholarship. His background is in financial fraud, Big Data analytics and software engineering.

Emer Owen

Emer Owens is a risk management and insurance researcher at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Her research centres on explainable, interpretable and trustworthy applications of artificial intelligence in the insurance domain as part of the Emerging Risk Group. She is responsible for the delivery of key project deliverables within European Commission and (re)insurance industrial-funded projects. She is also a member of the Department of Accounting and Finance faculty, tasked with finance and risk module leadership at a postgraduate and undergraduate level. 

Aisling Owen

Aisling Owen is currently a PhD student working under Dr. Barry Sheehan and Dr. Martin Mullins at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Her research centres on the governance of generative artificial intelligence within the insurance industry. Prior to commencing her PhD studies, Aisling's professional experience involved Risk Consulting for PwC Middle East and Captive Insurance and Risk Management Solutions for Aon Dublin. Aisling holds an MSc in Risk Management and Insurance from the University of Limerick and is a Certified Insurance Practitioner. 

Niall O'Donnell

Niall O’Donnell is a Risk Analyst at Susquehanna International Group (SIG) and a PhD student with the Emerging Risk Group (ERG) at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Prior to embarking on his PhD research, he completed an MSc. In Computational Finance, and a Bachelor of Business Studies with a focus on Economics and Financial Services. Supervised by Dr. Darren Shannon and Dr. Barry Sheehan, his research lies in the field of financial markets and economics, with quantitative assessments on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on financial markets. In this context, he examines the impact of pandemic-related growth and recovery metrics, monetary policies, and the subsequent overarching impact on different industries from a stock market perspective. At its core, his research seeks to identify the tangible insights that can subsequently inform preparations for future adversarial events, advising investors,  governments, regulators, and all relevant economic stakeholders

Eamon Leonard

Eamon Leonard is a PhD student at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, working under Dr. Barry Sheehan and Dr. Darren Shannon. His current research focuses on Leveraging Generative AI to Enhance the Risk Management Cycle to better aid and inform SMEs' decision-making practices in Ireland and abroad.  Before completing his MSc in Machine Learning for Finance, his studies included an MSc in Data Analytics and a Diploma in Taxation.  Eamon has a background in Corporate Finance, with diverse and extensive experience in various sectors and roles, including corporate banking, equity research, financial modelling and tax structuring.  As part of the Emerging Risk Group, the research will focus on closing the technology adoption/ availability gap, particularly addressing the significant barriers that prevent SMEs and underdeveloped countries with limited resources and infrastructure from embracing innovative technologies. 

Professor Raymond J Friel joined the School of Law at University of Limerick in 1989. Since then, he was Head of School for nine years and University Advocate for four years. He has held visiting Professorships at Boston College Law School, Western University Law School in Canada, the University of New Hampshire Law School and the University of Kansas Law School. His areas of specialisation are contract and commercial law and he has authored leading treatises on contract, tax and business law. He has published extensively both nationally and internationally in prestigious law reviews, including the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Fordham Journal of International Law, Common Law World Review, Arbitration, North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Journal of Legal Education, Washburn Law Review and University of Kansas Law Review, to name a few. Currently he is Director of the International Commercial and Economic Law Research Group and is an examiner for the Law Society of Ireland entrance examination. He has also been appointed to several Universities as an external examiner and has been invited as an expert referee for a number of journals.

Related Projects


  • Source/Programme: Interreg Europe (2023-2027)
  • Year of Award: 2023
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Description: Our consortium is led by the Office of Business Management (ES) and includes 7 further EU partners. PROACTsme focuses on Applied Data-science and AI for proactive SME service

VI-DAS - Vision Inspired Driver Assistance Systems

  • Source/Programme: EC H2020
  • Year of Award: 2016
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • Description: This is a European Commission funded consortium Proposal number 690772-2, Call (part) identifier H2020-MG-3.6a-2015.  The total estimated project cost is €6,225,247.


  • Source/Programm: EU H2020 PILOTS-02-2016 Call
  • Year of Award: 2016
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Description: EU H2020 PILOTS-02-2016 Call.  Our consortium is lead by Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya (ES) and includes 22 further EU partners across 8 countries.