In 2016, the Digital ICT Report prepared by MATRIX, the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel, identified four areas – software engineering, advanced networks and sensors, data analytics and cyber security – in which Northern Ireland is already, or has the potential to be, world class.
It also noted five key industry sectors in Northern Ireland that were likely to benefit from AI developments, namely Financial Services (Fintech), Manufacturing, Public Services, Agriculture and Life and Health Sciences. The report concluded with a recommendation that Northern Ireland should establish a Research Institute in Data Analytics.
Subsequently, Matrix commissioned The Alan Turing Institute to undertake a review of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in the region and examine the case for the establishment of a new AI Centre of Excellence in Northern Ireland.
Did you know…?
- Academic AI capability in Northern Ireland is concentrated in its two main university institutions: Ulster University (UU), which has campuses in Belfast, Jordanstown, Derry/Londonderry and Coleraine; and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB).
- There are over 150 permanent staff involved in AI research across the two universities.
- There are around 100 companies in Northern Ireland currently working in the sector, including many spinouts from the universities.