In its Digital ICT report, which was published in 2016, MATRIX recognised that there was a growing capability in Artificial Intelligence (AI) within Northern Ireland’s business and academic research base.  On that basis MATRIX is now conducting a short scoping study of Northern Ireland’s capability in AI.  Led by Dr Rob Hardeman, MATRIX Chair, and Tom Gray, Director of the NI Digital Catapult, the purpose of the study is to:

  • Build a comprehensive picture of the AI landscape (both industrial and academic) in Northern Ireland,
  • Identify one or two keys areas where Northern Ireland has particular expertise in AI development
  • Assess the potential to build an AI cluster in Northern Ireland in order to support the growth and development of companies/researchers operating in this space,
  • Demonstrate the regional capability in AI both nationally and internationally in order to position Northern Ireland:
    1. as a place in which to develop AI capability
    2. so that companies are ready to avail of support/funding as they emerge. The HM Government Green Paper “Building Our Industrial Strategy” references Artificial Intelligence as one of the potential areas of investment under the forthcoming Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The definition and scope of AI for the study are as follows:

“Software with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed”


Panel Chairman

Dr Rob Hardeman, Chair of the Artificial Intelligence Study

Dr. Rob Hardeman


Dr. Rob Hardeman recently retired as Technologist (Senior Director) at Seagate’s manufacturing facility in Springtown, working on technology transfer with external suppliers and partners, together with management of major capital projects.

He gained MA and PhD degrees in Metallurgy & Materials science from the University of Cambridge. He is Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster (NIBEC), A Member of the IOM3 and a Chartered Engineer, his particular technical interests are in nanotechnology, magnetic materials and thin film devices. As a trained Master Black Belt in Six Sigma he has also taken a keen interest in Business Process Improvement.

We will look at:

  • Machine Learning
  • Deep Learning
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Behavioural & Emotion Analytics
  • Cognitive Analytics
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

What is Artificial Intelligence?


Research publications

Below is a selection of the reports used to research this project. If you would like to see all AI related reports, please visit the library.


The Four Futures of Work2019-03-26T12:47:30+01:00
Data science, artificial intelligence and the futures of work2018-12-12T11:51:27+01:00
The Future of Jobs 20182018-09-20T09:32:46+01:00
AI​ ​Now​ ​2017​ ​Report2017-10-31T13:51:42+01:00
Machine learning: the power and promise of computers that learn by example2017-06-06T11:59:28+01:00
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Their Impact on the Workplace2017-06-06T12:00:09+01:00
The Future of Employment2017-06-06T12:01:27+01:00

Get in touch

For more  information please contact the Project Manager, Conor Dunbar on