Enterprise Ireland issues €12m in funding for AI innovation hub

24 Sep 2019

From left: Prof Brian Norton, Prof Orla Feely, Prof Andrew Deeks, Stephen Creaner of Enterprise Ireland and Dr Edward McDonnell. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

The AI research centre is expected to secure up to €28m in funding to boost Irish business’s use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

CeADAR, the Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research, has secured €12m in funding from Enterprise Ireland, to be matched with additional funding from industry and other sources.

With this fresh investment, CeADAR plans to scale its operations to meet a growing demand from industry for support in adopting artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and machine learning technologies.

“The pace of technological change is exponential and, with the high rate of adoption in this space, Enterprise Ireland recognises that many organisations face a challenging journey to develop their core capabilities in these areas so that they can successfully innovate and compete with companies across the globe,” said Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland.

The €12m from Enterprise Ireland will be spread over five years. An additional industry contribution of almost €10m is also expected for CeADAR, plus another €6m to be won from other competitive funding sources.

Applied AI for business

Since its establishment in 2013, CeADAR has completed 60 industry-focused projects and supported hundreds of companies in implementing data analytics and AI as business tools. It is the only Irish centre among a network of 30 AI innovation hubs across Europe selected by the European Commission to collaborate on AI projects and help create the foundation for future European policies on AI.

“Advances in AI, machine learning and data analytics are already transforming the way we work today and will lead to new ways of working and new jobs in the future,” said Prof Orla Feely, vice-president for research, innovation and impact at University College Dublin (UCD), where CeADAR is based.

“The funding announced today will enable UCD world-class researchers to continue collaborating with TU Dublin researchers and industry partners, to accelerate the development and commercial deployment of innovative technologies into the Irish workplace. This additional investment in CeADAR will serve to further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a hub of excellence in AI, machine learning, and data analytics research and innovation.”

‘This additional investment in CeADAR will serve to further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a hub of excellence in AI, machine learning, and data analytics research and innovation’

Prof Brian Norton of TU Dublin specifically highlighted the contribution of UCD alumni and TU Dublin lecturers Robert Ross and Susan McKeever as principal investigators at CeADAR.

Ross has more than 20 years’ experience working in the field of AI and his primary research interest is in situated intelligence including robotics and spoken language technology. He also has a practical interest in all aspects of applied machine learning having found uses for this technology in areas such as agricultural science and the automotive industry.

Through CeADAR, McKeever works directly with companies to deliver data analytics solutions, with 10 years’ experience in IT consultancy to back her up. Her research areas cover a range of techniques and application domains with artificial intelligence including machine learning, text analytics, video analytics, autonomous systems and sensor-driven system interpretation.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.