BT and Adapt to team up on cross-border AI research

6 Jul 2021

Image: © Prostock-studio/

Research centres at DCU and Ulster University signed a new partnership agreement that aims to support research mobility and innovation.

The SFI-funded Adapt research centre based in Dublin City University (DCU) and the BT Ireland Innovation Centre (BTIIC) at Ulster University recently signed a memorandum of understanding to foster future research and development collaboration.

The new partnership will focus on three main aspects in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and information technology: exchange programmes for staff and students, joint research projects, and collaborative seminars and conferences to encourage information exchange.

Since 2015, the Adapt centre has had more than 400 research publications from its international collaborations with more than 50 research institutions across 50 countries.

Their researchers have contributed to international policies regarding AI while also developing and improving AI technology.

Likewise, BTIIC’s research and innovation programme, with a strong focus on AI and internet of things (IoT), has yielded technical outputs that underpin job creation by BT in Northern Ireland.

By encouraging shared tasks to foster regional and national discussions, the collaboration will address areas including AI, intelligent systems, image, video and voice processing, visual computing, machine learning, and privacy and security.

“The Adapt centre has been proactively developing its research footprint across the Republic of Ireland for more than a decade and we are delighted to join with the BT Ireland Innovation Centre at Ulster University to develop a formal approach to research and innovation across the island of Ireland,” said Prof Andy Way, deputy director of Adapt.

He said that today’s signing signals a new strategic approach in light of the Government’s new North-South Research Programme announced yesterday (5 July). This initiative will see a total of €40m from the Shared Island Fund go towards research that encourages north-south collaborations, with the first call for applications being launched later this year.

It’s part of the €500m announced last year to fund cross-border work on education, infrastructure, health and climate action projects.

Prof Bryan Scotney at Ulster University said: “At BTIIC we are translating innovative research into real-world solutions for industry. We are delighted to formalise our collaboration with the Adapt centre as we work together to share knowledge and expertise in the exciting areas of artificial intelligence and information technology.

“It is an important time to reflect on our unique relationship, and to consider what future opportunities and challenges there are for scientific research and development on the island of Ireland.”

Sam Cox was a journalist at Silicon Republic covering sci-tech news