Fostering the Future of FinTech: DigiAdvance at DCU’s Collaborative Solutions Event

The evolving landscape of the Financial Technology (FinTech) sector took centre stage at DCU’s (one of our project partners) recent event, Collaborative Solutions: Bridging Skill Gaps Through Industry-Academia Partnerships, where over 30 industry representatives and academics gathered to discuss the role of new technologies in the sector and avenues for addressing emerging skill gaps. 

DigiAdvance was part of this event in a few ways, namely being introduced by our very own project partner FinTech Corridor, as well as the attendees contributing their opinions in a survey which will be used to influence our course creation.

A Warm Welcome 

Deputy President of Dublin City University, Prof. Anne Sinnott kicked off the afternoon by welcoming everyone to the inspiring surroundings of the DCU Alpha Campus (Dublin City University’s Innovation Campus). Prof. Sinnott laid out the objectives of the day highlighting the crucial role of industry-academia collaboration in driving growth and innovation and ensuring that all educational offerings are relevant and impactful.  

A Conversation Starter 

Hilary Moran, CEO of the FinTech Corridor, got the conversation around skills gaps in the FinTech sector started. In particular, she highlighted the important role of our DigiAdvance project in bridging these gaps by providing upskilling opportunities underpinned by industry-academia collaboration.  

A Feature for Funding  

Donna Noonan from IFS Skillnet was up next. Donna drew our attention to the different funding support available through Skillnet Ireland to help companies bridge skill gaps and develop the talent they need to succeed.  

A Teaser of DCU’s New Micro-Credentials  

Prof. Michael Dowling from DCU Business School, an esteemed expert in the FinTech field, continued the conversation by showcasing DCU’s new FinTech micro-credentials as potential solutions to companies upskilling needs. The micro-credentials are designed for people who want to add modern financial techniques and innovation expertise to their existing finance experience and include the following: 

  1. FinTech – Financial Technology and Innovation
  2. Data Science for Finance 
  3. Financial Machine Learning and Automation 
  4. Design and User Experience for FinTech 

The four micro-credentials can also be stacked towards a Graduate Certificate in Financial Intelligence and Technology 

Michael’s interactive presentation demonstrated the real world impact of key skills gained from the offerings. He walked us through the development and implementation of a FinTech application based on financial data science, machine learning and UX design. The application functioned as a highly specified chat bot, capable of answering FinTech regulatory questions drawing on 700 pages of Central Bank of Ireland reports. Michael highlighted how graduates of the Financial Intelligence and Technology Graduate Certificate would have the skills to create and implement similar applications in companies. 

A Fireside Chat  

Finally, the day wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the transformative role of artificial intelligence (AI) in FinTech and beyond, and a fireside chat with Prof. Alan Smeaton, Professor of Computing at DCU and renowned expert in the field, allowed us to explore just that. Dr. Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl, Director of Micro-Credential Strategy and Innovation in DCU facilitated the conversation with plenty of audience engagement. The lively discussion touched on topics such as the origins of AI, the topical question of Chat GPT, the skills needed for AI, and what the future holds. A key takeaway was Prof. Smeaton’s assertion that as we move forward with new technologies those with the necessary skills would be ‘top of the food chain’.  

An Opportunity for Impact 

Throughout the day key insights were gathered from all attendees via padlet as they engaged with the speakers and fellow participants and reflected on the needs of their companies moving forward. The data gathered will help inform the development of a new suite of FinTech short courses as part of our EU-funded DigiAdvance project.  

A Final Word… 

Overall, the event provided a timely opportunity for key stakeholders across the FinTech sector to come together and openly discuss emerging trends and challenges. The collection of DCU micro-credentials showcased demonstrate the university’s commitment to providing flexible and relevant offerings driven by the needs of industry.  Finally, the exploration of AI’s role in FinTech left attendees inspired by the possibilities of harnessing new technologies for financial innovation.  

In order to shape the trajectory of this dynamic sector and ensure that companies can rise to the challenges that new technologies bring, events such as this one will continue to play a pivotal role in highlighting and facilitating the collective efforts needed to succeed.