Ireland’s first Master’s in Artificial Intelligence (AI) was launched in January to meet the demand in the country for specialist AI skills.
The two-year part-time programme will be conducted primarily online, with the exception of some intensive problem-based learning workshops, which will take place on the University of Limerick campus.
The Master’s in Artificial Intelligence was an initiative spearheaded by Skillnets and IDA Ireland in response to the need for specialist AI skills. The goal is to educate more than 300 people within the next five years.
An integral part of the programme will be a fast-track 12-week online course – Introduction to AI – to be developed in collaboration with the Irish Centre for High-End Computing which will build the foundational skills of participants to enable them to enter and complete the Master’s programme.
A major AI ecosytem is taking root in Ireland
The design of the entire programme is being led by ICT companies under the aegis of Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet and University of Limerick. Companies that have been involved in developing the programme to date include: Accenture, Advanced Metadata, Analog, Arvato, Citibank, Ericsson, Fujitsu, GM, Google, IBM, Image-Vision, Microsoft, Movidius, Nokia Bell Labs, Pramerica, SAP, Storyful, Sytorus, Valeo and Zalando.
Skillnets CEO Paul Healy said:
Artificial intelligence will have a transformational effect on business and on society over the coming years. In supporting the skills needs of over 14,000 companies in Ireland, we consistently hear of both the opportunities and risks presented by AI.
Although a thriving AI ecosystem is taking root in Ireland, we know that a significant skills shortage in AI is emerging which needs to be addressed. We see the launch of this Master’s programme as a great opportunity to not only respond to the needs of business, but also to grow our economy by making Ireland a centre of excellence in artificial intelligence.
There are currently over 80,000 tech professionals working in Ireland, with over 8,000 more IT jobs forecast to be created this year.
Companies that have an AI presence established in Ireland include: Siemens, Zalando, SAP, HubSpot, Deutsche Bank, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, Ericsson, Intel, Dell EMC, Microsoft, Fujitsu, Mastercard, Nokia Bell Labs, Huawei, LogoGrab and Soapbox Labs, to name but a few.
Leo Clancy, head of technology, consumer and business services at IDA Ireland, explained:
AI is an area of huge growth globally and is fundamentally important to IDA’s clients and their future plans. Ireland has a significant opportunity to build upon our record base of foreign direct investment through ensuring we have a skilled and capable workforce in this critical area. We welcome the announcement today by the Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet and the University of Limerick and commend both organisations on the initiative shown in making this happen.
Design and development activity for AI systems is growing
Skillnets awarded funding to Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet last year to develop this Master’s in artificial intelligence through its Future Skills Needs Programme (FSNP).
Paul Sweetman, Director of Technology Ireland, said:
Design and development activity for AI systems is growing exponentially, constrained only by a skills demand. This presents both a problem and an opportunity for countries like Ireland.
By enthusiastically supporting this initiative, employers are placing Ireland at the forefront of the AI revolution. Investing in AI skills will produce a pipeline of highly capable experts for this strategically important sector and will have a positive impact on the Irish economy.
Source: Silicon Republic