The European Commission has launched a call for proposals to develop an EU-wide network of Artificial Intelligence Excellence Centres.
Successful projects submitted to the call for proposals, which will be open until 13 November 2019, will receive a share of €50m funding under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. The EU’s world-leading research and development infrastructure and exceptional scientific community, the call states, equip the bloc with ‘important potential’ for further development of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions to major global challenges.
The Commission’s Co-ordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence states: ‘The Commission plans to fund networks of AI research excellence centres with €50m in 2020 through Horizon 2020, supporting collaborative research addressing industrial and scientific challenges identified by such networks in joint research agendas. The objective is to foster cooperation among the best research teams in Europe, joining forces to tackle more efficiently major scientific and technological challenges in AI and mobilise industry to be integrated in and find synergies with the research teams.’
The call for proposals details two categories of ‘actions’ within Artificial Intelligence research and development which could potentially receive Horizon 2020 funding:
- Research and Innovation Action, aimed at achieving ‘critical mass’ on AI research by mobilising the EU’s top researchers into networks of Artificial Intelligence Excellence Centres; and
- Co-ordination and Support Action, promoting the exchange of relevant information and research data between the projects selected for funding and other EU-based AI initiatives.
The call for proposals on Artificial Intelligence Excellence Centres follows the EU’s deployment of its €20m AI4EU campaign, which aims to build an EU-wide AI ecosystem by bringing together the bloc’s resources, tools and research professionals. AI4EU, which is in operation with 80 partners across 21 Member States, will run until December 2021, with projects in development including an AI on-demand platform and the establishment of an AI ethics observatory.