E55 Dr. Pepijn van de Ven, Senior Lecturer at University of Limerick

    Welcome to episode 55 of the AI Ireland podcast, the show that explores the applications and research of Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence on the island of Ireland.
    Our mission is to increase the use of AI for the benefit of our society, our competitiveness, and everyone living in Ireland.

    In today’s episode, we discuss the University of Limerick’s part-time and online Masters in Artificial Intelligence, Ireland’s largest masters programme in AI, with the course director Dr. Pepijn (Pep) van de Ven.

    UL started this Masters programme in the autumn of 2018 in close collaboration with ICT Skillnet, ICHEC and a large number of Irish industries with an interest in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This programme is unique in Ireland in that it was developed fully from scratch based on industry needs and requirements for upskilling the Irish workforce in AI and machine learning. Moreover, the programme was developed with fully online delivery in mind and this has shown to be a key strength of the programme.

    It may be of interest to our listeners to know that the UL MSc in AI starts with a Certificate in AI that is delivered together with ICHEC. This Certificate forms an integral part of the masters but results in a separate qualification. It allows participants to dip a toe in the water before committing to the full masters programme. In this certificate, students will take part in two modules, which prepare them for the rest of the masters, but also provide a good overview of what it means to work with machine learning. This Certificate also allows UL to consider candidates that may not normally have access to a masters degree programme and many students have made use of this opportunity already.

    In this podcast, some past and current students also provide feedback on the programme.

    Prof Mike O’Riordain, one of the students from the first cohort who graduated recently, speaks of the importance of peer interaction and how such interaction is fostered within the programme. He also mentions the unique ethics element of the UL course and that students should be prepared to work hard, but that UL supports students with a well-structured programme.

    Fabiola Faria, a current student on the programme tells me about the opportunity she has had in the Certificate part of the course to learn about Python and refresh her maths skills and knowledge. She also has some good advice regarding the necessity to have a good study plan and keep time for family and friends.

    Colin Byrne, who also recently graduated from the course, mentions the opportunities he believes the Masters in AI will give him in his career and speaks of how the UL course supported him in getting back into the routine of studying after 20 years in industry. Colin is also very positive about how the UL course makes peer learning and communication central to the learning experience and sees this as a big plus for the UL course.



    You can learn more about UL’s part-time, online Masters in AI on the UL website at: www.ul.ie/gps/artificial-intelligence-msc-online or by contacting Pep at pepijn.vandeven@ul.ie. As students on this course are normally entitled to Skillnet funding, please also check www.ictskillnet.ie/training/national-msc-in-artificial-intelligence-online/ for information on this financial support.

    Applications for this programme will open in June 2021.

    Finally, if you would like to hear more from AI Ireland, please reach out to us to learn more about AI Ireland membership and how to get involved with the 2021 AI Awards by contacting mark@aiawards.ie.

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