Home Policy & Governance Ireland’s government backs sustainable fintech diploma

Ireland’s government backs sustainable fintech diploma

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill (centre): Ireland’s fintech minister at a photocall to launch the diploma at the Global Government Fintech Lab event in Dublin | Credit: International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence

Ireland’s minister of state with responsibility for fintech has announced the launch of a post-graduate diploma in sustainable fintech as part of a government push to ‘provide a pipeline of skilled talent in this area’.

The move was announced by Jennifer Carroll MacNeill at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023, a one-day event held in Ireland’s capital, Dublin, on 18 May.

Minister Carroll MacNeill said the new Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Financial Technology & Innovation, which she described as a “pioneering” and “enterprise-led, demand-driven” programme, would be government-funded through Ireland’s International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence.

The diploma aims to improve professionals’ skills in three areas: the data science of sustainable finance, how fintech implements sustainable finance solutions; and “how this interacts with financial innovation and the development of new products”, the minister told the Lab audience.

“As a government, we have committed to achieving ambitious emission-reduction targets under our Climate Action Plan and delivering on these goals will require innovation from the financial services sector,” she said, describing this as a “policy outcome with fintech and innovation at its core”.

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‘Building capacity’ in fintech

The minister highlighted the presence of Aiaze Mitha on the Global Government Fintech Lab’s speaker line-up. Mitha, who is global lead for digital finance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), took part in a fireside chat during the event.

Ireland’s International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence “works with global leaders like Aiaze as they develop these courses [such as the diploma] to address gaps and build capacity in financial technology and this new diploma is a case in point,” Carroll MacNeill, who is minister of state with responsibility for financial services, credit unions and insurance, said.

The International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence, which launched last year, is co-ordinating the delivery of Ireland’s National Sustainable Finance Roadmap 2022-2025. The centre has been set up to become an ‘international hub from which the Irish-located finance community will develop its response to sustainability demands.’

Ireland’s financial services ‘action plan’ for 2023, published by Ireland’s Department of Finance in March, included six priorities for fintech and digital finance. The action plan followed the release six months previously of an updated ‘Ireland for Finance’ strategy – a whole-of-government strategy charting the development of international financial services in the European Union (EU) member state to the end of 2026.

The ‘Ireland for Finance’ document ceded greater prominence to fintech and digital finance, as well as to sustainable finance, than the strategy’s first iteration, which was published in 2019. The first iteration of the Irish government’s Climate Action Plan was published during the same year.


‘One of industry’s most important needs’

Sustainable Finance Skillnet, a national learning network co-funded by business support agency Skillnet Ireland and member companies, has partnered the National University of Ireland Maynooth to design and deliver the new diploma.

“This qualification speaks to one of the most important needs of industry – innovative ways to improve sustainability in fintech,” said Carroll MacNeill. “Through the introduction of this programme by Sustainable Finance Skillnet and Maynooth University, the building blocks are in place to provide a pipeline of skilled talent in this area.”

The Global Government Fintech Lab 2023 was organised in tandem with Ireland’s Department of Finance. Speakers from the host nation included Mai Santamaria, who leads the Financial Advisory team in the department; the Central Bank of Ireland’s head of policy and risk horizontal function Denise Delaney and her colleague Gavin Curran, who is head of the central bank’s markets supervision division; and Fintech Ireland’s Peter Oakes.

The Global Government Fintech Lab was taking place for the second time after the inaugural event brought global government pioneers together in Tallinn, Estonia, in June 2022.

Further information can also be found on the Global Government Fintech Lab webpage