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An annual series of monthly headline discussions on how our everyday lives will be disrupted by accelerations in technologies


The 4th Industrial Revolution Challenge is an annual series of monthly headline discussions held across Northern Ireland encouraging participants to learn together how the following sectors: health, finance, energy, transport, government and food will be disrupted by accelerations in the following platform technologies: IoT, Analytics, AI, VR, 3D printing, robotics, genomics, and quantum computing. 

Each 4IRC discussion brings the opportunity to meet other curious and like-minded individuals in an informal and lively setting where you can actively debate, share and learn. Everyone is welcome to join us to debate and discover more about the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, led by our panels of expert contributors from a range of organisations and professional backgrounds. 

Find out about our upcoming 4IRC events via the button below. For further information about the 4th Industrial Revolution Challenge please get in touch with Jessica Caldwell (4IRC Programme Manager). 

Connect Shapers

Each year Connect invites Northern Ireland's top academic research professors, most innovative corporations and leaders from our startup community to apply to be a Connect shaper; those who have demonstrated brilliance in their field and a restless curiosity to find answers to the biggest questions facing society. Together, the Shapers define the key questions from the 4th Industrial Revolution and design the platform from which anyone can learn while meeting other people who share that curiosity. 

Responsibilities of a Shaper

  • Identify the key questions: working collaboratively in multi-disciplinary Shaper teams you will identify the key questions and set the ten challenges for the year, topics of highest priority to Northern Ireland.

  • Organise one event: each Shaper must join one team and be responsible for the production of that challenge event in a multi-disciplinary team of four Shapers.

  • Help other teams organise their events: review the outcomes, identify speakers, venues, promote events to your networks, generate ideas for promotion etc. 

Benefits of being a Shaper

  • You will join and develop relationships with an elite and diverse network of people that will be of value to you for the rest of your career.

  • You will be one of a small number of people with insight into the breadth of change coming to industry and life.

  • Shapers will be recognised for their contribution.

  • You will be personally responsible for helping key audiences in Northern Ireland to be better informed and better connected. 

I enjoy working with the other Connect Shapers & Connect, who are just as curious about 4IR technologies and how they can affect people & business in NI and beyond. The Design Thinking process is fun, thought-provoking and energising! The high quality events are interactive and accessible to anyone with an interest. It's an all-round positive experience that I thoroughly recommend!
Carrie Hanna – Connect Shaper
“Of the many diverse and fascinating challenges we face today, the most intense and important is how to understand and shape the new technology revolution, which entails nothings less than a transformation of humankind. We are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, what I consider to be the fourth industrial revolution is unlike anything human kind has experienced before.”
KLAUS SCHWAB Founder & Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

Upcoming Debates


April, 2019

4IRC Crypto-assets: What are the challenges to widespread adoption?

4IRC Crypto-assets: What are the challenges to widespread adoption?

Date: 02 April, 2019

Time: 5.30pm - 7.30pm

Venue: Ormeau Baths, Belfast

Note: Registered Attendees Only

register now
Steering Team

Stevie Gallagher


Peter Devine

Ulster University

Gerard McStravick

Danske Bank

Dave Anderson

Liberty IT

Rachael Andrew

Forde Campbell

Joanne Graham


Niamh Griffin

Bank of Ireland UK

Claire McComb


Mark Loughran