Ireland's first Masters in Artificial Intelligence (AI) was launched in Dublin in response to a growing demand by industry for AI skills in Ireland. The programme, which will run in the University of Limerick from September 2018, was launched by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys (TD) at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
This new innovative course will include a fast-track Introductory Course to be developed in collaboration with the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), Ireland's national centre for HPC. The design of the entire programme will be led by ICT companies under the aegis of Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet and the 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.
Speaking at the launch of the Masters today, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: "I welcome this new programme that will be delivered by the University of Limerick with the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC). Artificial Intelligence is shaping a new reality for Irish businesses, creating exciting new opportunities for innovation across all industries. To keep pace with these fast-changing technologies, it's essential we have a workforce with the skills needed to drive this digital revolution."
Skillnets, the national agency working with businesses to address their current and future skills needs, collaborated with IDA Ireland to develop this leading-edge programme in order to address the growing need for Artificial Intelligence skills in Ireland. There are currently over 80,000 tech professionals working in Ireland, with over 8,000 more IT jobs forecast to be created this year.
"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", said Chief Executive of Skillnets, Paul Healy.
Dr Ann Ledwith, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, University of Limerick said: "The University of Limerick recognises the importance of ICT skills in maintaining and growing the Irish economy; nowhere is this more apparent than in AI. We are delighted to be partnering with Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet on this new Master's programme. We believe that our technical expertise along with our ability to collaborate with external partners and engage flexibly with students will ensure that this programme will produce the motivated and skilled engineers necessary for sustaining the growth of the AI sector in Ireland."
The new MSc in Artificial Intelligence aims to educate over 300 people within the next five years. The course will run over two-years part-time and will be delivered primarily online with some intensive Problem Based Learning (PBL) workshops taking place at the University of Limerick campus.
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 Masters programme.
The programme which will initially enroll 60 students is aimed at (a) existing information technology professionals, (b) those migrating from associated disciplines and (c) appropriately qualified recent graduates (new entrants) who are interested in pursuing a career in this field.