Ireland joins €3m European ethical AI postgraduate education effort

Artificial Intelligence
Image: Shutterstock via Dennis

Plans to be rolled out across Ireland, The Netherlands, Italy and Hungary in September 2022

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4 August 2021 | 0

A major collaborative project across Europe is designing a new master’s programme in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that addresses human and ethical issues around AI.

The three-year project has received EU funding of €2.25 million from the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) through the Connecting Europe Facility funding instrument. The total cost of the project is expected to be €3 million.

The project aims to develop a master’s degree programme to be delivered at four universities (Ireland, The Netherlands, Italy and Hungary), three centres of excellence (one in Ireland), and three technology companies.

 

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Ireland is front and centre of the project with Technological University Dublin and CeADAR, Ireland’s national centre for Applied Data Analytics & AI based at University College Dublin (UCD), both key members. Dublin-based Nathean Technologies is one of the industry partners.

The aim is for the master’s to be rolled out in September 2022 at TU Dublin, Hogeschool Utrecht, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, and Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Each university will offer the MSc Programme in the academic year 2022/23 and award a degree separately.

As well as CeADAR, the other excellence centres involved are the National Research Council of Italy and Fondatsiya Evropreyski Softueren Institut – Tsentar Iztochna Evropa in Bulgaria.  The industry partners involved are Real AI BV and Nathean Technologies and the Citel Group Srl.

“AI is being used more and more in everyday life; it is becoming ubiquitous in our homes,” said Dr Oisín Boydell, principal data scientist at CeADAR. “As the integration is so rapid, we need to be examining the implications of all this technology on the end users – humans. We are good at looking at the technical side of AI, but we also need to understand, from a human-focus, why we are using this AI and put humans in control of it.  

“Europe is putting ethical requirements at the heart of AI development to protect the rights of the individual. The target for this programme is to develop graduates who can apply cutting-edge AI technology with human centred principles built in from the beginning. Graduates of this programme will provide an advantage to early adopters of ethical AI approaches.”

The content of the curriculum will link technology, organisation, people, and ethics based in real industry experience. Partners involved will be conducting surveys across Europe and creating focus groups to understand what is needed by the marketplace.

The delivery of the MSc will also be a collaboration as the university partners will teach the students, but the excellence centres and SMEs will also play an active part in the course delivery. To make the material developed for the MSc programme as widely available as possible, materials will be published on the online Digital Skills & Jobs Platform during the project.

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