AI4Europe kickstarts new AI drive
The European Commission took a further step towards its goal of reducing Europe's reliance on more advanced technology regions of the world such as the US and parts of Asia.
As part of a broad sweep of efforts to drive tech innovation in the region, the commission has provided €9 million ($9.1 million) in funding for a new artificial intelligence (AI) project and platform that broadly aims to serve "as a catalyst to aid AI-based innovation."
AI4Europe has now officially launched following a kickoff meeting last week at the University College Cork (UCC). Its purpose is to develop the AI-on-demand platform and "bring together the AI community while promoting European values."
AI4Europe is a project funded under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program that runs until the end of 2025. Along with UCC, the project is supported by a consortium of an additional 23 partners across 15 European countries.
First initiated in 2019, the project essentially seeks to address what it describes as "the fragmentation of the European AI landscape" and facilitate technology transfer from research to business.
Professor Barry O'Sullivan, director of insight at UCC and AI4Europe coordinator, said the AI-on-demand platform "is a critically important strategic infrastructure and ecosystem to ensure that Europe is at the cutting-edge of AI. Through the dissemination of research expertise and results, and through the adoption of AI technologies in industry and the public sector, we will support the uptake of trustworthy AI in Europe."
AI4Europe builds on the work carried out under the completed AI4EU project, as well as other European-funded AI projects. The platform will offer interoperable services, data, and tools from several related communities and provide solutions to facilitate research productivity, reproducibility, and collaboration.
In August, the latest Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published by the commission, found among other things that businesses' adoption of key digital technologies such as AI and "big data" analytics remains worryingly low.
Although on a smaller scale, the AI4Europe project comes hot on the heels of other European tech projects to drive innovation in the region.
For example, in June the Commission announced a new agenda that seeks to ensure the EU can attract the necessary skills and capital investment to become "a deep tech innovation leader."
In May, it unveiled the European Chips Act, which aims to "ensure the EU's security of supply, resilience and technological leadership in semiconductor technologies and applications."
— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading