Public Sector Newsletter
April 2018

The new Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund mean for Ireland?

What it means for the future of AI and business in Ireland

Ireland has long been the European hub for some of the tech industry’s most forward thinking firms, and has accumulated brilliant minds and skills for the technology of today. But as Artificial Intelligence (AI) extends its foothold, how will Ireland secure its leading position in this field?

As part of the government’s Project Ireland 2040: National Development Plan 2018 – 2027, a very significant initiative will help to keep Ireland at the forefront of AI innovation. By taking a leading role in AI progression, Irish research institutions and academics will be able to collaborate with organisations across a range of industries and public sector organisations to deliver new value. The trickle down effects will undoubtedly help to support the national economy, buffering it against any cross-border post Brexit shocks. Carving out a position now, creates a positive feedback loop of investment, innovation, value, learning and so on.

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund worth €500 million sets out to help develop Ireland’s ecosystem of innovation and ability to respond rapidly to emerging opportunities in the global economy. Developing superior AI competency will also support the work being done in SFI Research Centres that help start-ups and mature firms to develop innovative products, with the ultimate goal of creating jobs in the outlying regions.

However, because the Fund is challenge-based, and deployed through the DBEI, it will become a force for good – driving innovation in solving key national and global issues. Crucially, it will help to establish Ireland as a thriving centre of AI skills development.

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 apace with these fast-changing technologies, it’s essential we have a workforce with the skills needed to drive this digital revolution."

What is cruciual to remember about AI innovation is that it requires a powerful underpinning of advanced analytics. This is the fuel of AI – machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. And in order that Irish academic organisations deliver real progress that business and government departments can benefit from, it’s essential that this critical analytics foundation is in place from the off.

SAS has been innovating in the field of advanced analytics and AI for over 40 years. You’re welcome to see how we’re supporting commercial and public sector organisations, here.

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