Professor Sir John McCanny is an international authority on special purpose silicon architectures for Digital Signal and Video Processing and Cryptography. He has published 5 research books, 360 peer reviewed research papers and holds over 20 patents. He was appointed Regius Professor in Electronics and Computer Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast in 2016.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Irish Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institute of Physics and Engineers Ireland. He is also a Member of the Royal Irish Academy.
His many honours and awards include a CBE (2002), a UK Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal (1996), an IEEE Millennium Medal, the Royal Dublin Society/Irish Times Boyle medal (2004), the IET’s Faraday medal (2006 – its highest honour), the Royal Irish Academy’s Cunningham medal (2011- its highest honour) and the Irish Academy of Engineering Parson’s medal (2018 –its highest honour).
He has co-founded two successful high technology companies based on the work of his research teams, Amphion Semiconductor Ltd. – later acquired by Conexant, then NXP, then Entropic – and Audio Processing Technology Ltd – acquired in 2011 by Cambridge Silicon Radio, in turn acquired by Qualcomm in 2015.
He was responsible, within Queen’s University, for developing the vision that led to the creation of the Northern Ireland Science Park (now Catalyst Inc) and its £37M ECIT research flagship (https://www.qub.ac.uk/ecit/) for which he was currently Director from 2002 to 2017. In 2002, the Science Park was a “brownfield site”. Today 200 high technology companies are located there, employing over 3000 people. He also led the initiative that in 2009 created the £30M Centre for Secure Information Technology. CSIT, based at ECIT, has been funded by EPSRC, InnovateUK, InvestNI and industry. It now has over 90 people and is the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Cybersecurity. In the past seven years, CSIT has played a key role in the creation of over 1700 additional new jobs, in effect creating a new cybersecurity business sector in Northern Ireland, now with 40 companies.
Professor McCanny was a Member of Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering between 2009 and 2012 and a Member of Council of the Royal Irish Academy between 2013 and 2014. He has served on numerous Royal Society committees including its Sectional Committee 4 that elects Fellows in Engineering, chairing this in 2005 and 2006. He co-chaired the Royal Society Policy Steering Group on Cybersecurity leading to the publication of its report “Progress and Research in Cybersecurity” in July 2016. He also was a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering Dowling review, whose report on business-university collaboration was published in 2015. He was previously a member of the international advisory board of the German Excellence Centre on “Ultra-High-Speed Mobile Information and Communication” at the University of Aachen (2007 and 2012) and was a Member of the board of Ireland’s Tyndall National Institute (2004 -2011).
Professor McCanny holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Manchester (1973), a PhD in Physics from the University of Ulster (1978), a DSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast (1998) and an Honorary Degree in Engineering from Herriot Watt University (2019). He was awarded a Knighthood in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to Higher Education and Economic Development.