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The European Commission offers significant support to Europe’s AI excellence

The European Commission has decided to fund ELISE, a project proposal that specifically focuses on fundamental research in artificial intelligence, driven by machine learning, with 12 million euros.
Koneoppiminen on vienyt eteenpäin muun muassa konenäön, datatieteen, robotiikan ja ihmisen ja koneen vuorovaikutuksen aloja. Kuva: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski
Machine learning has triggered the current revolution in AI. Photo: Aalto University / Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

The European Commission is currently investing a total of 50 million euros towards the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research networks in Europe and the first major call for proposals, entitled 'ICT-48', has now come to an end. The European Commission has decided to fund ELISE, a project proposal that specifically focuses on fundamental research in AI, driven by machine learning (ML), with 12 million euros.

The ELISE proposal has been selected to enter Grant Agreement Preparation with top scores awarded among all proposals for this round, which is testament to the fact that machine learning is at the core of modern AI research, and a main driver in this thriving research field.

'The ELISE project proposal builds upon the ELLIS organization which is excellence-driven and open, as that is what Europe needs; we play for the 'team Europe’,' says Samuel Kaski, Director of the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI and professor at Aalto University, who is also the Principal Investigator of the proposal.

ELISE stands for European Learning and Intelligent Systems Excellence, and was initiated by ELLIS, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems, which was created in 2018 to create a network of AI excellence, with Europe’s top researchers in ML and related fields that can compete with the major AI hotspots in the US and China.

'The strength of Europe is in its rich and diverse cultures and industries, from service to health to manufacturing. The ELLIS network of top level AI institutes is the best way to inject excellent machine learning in European companies,' says Barbara Caputo, Professor at Politecnico di Torino and a member of the ELLIS Board. ELLIS is actively advancing important technological and medical applications with fellowship programs on Robotics, Computer Vision or Health. 

'We believe that a diversity of approaches is the key and we congratulate all of the other selected proposals. ELISE gives us the chance to implement the next steps towards the ELLIS vision, and we are happy to collaborate with others who help us achieve these goals,' adds Professor Bernhard Schölkopf, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen and a member of the ELLIS Board.

Goal of ELISE to make Europe competitive by setting up a 'Powerhouse of AI'

As part of its goals, ELLIS has set out to retain and attract the best talent. Machine learning has triggered the current revolution in AI, with an impact on all associated disciplines such as computer vision and sensory processing, data science, symbolic and rule-based reasoning, robotics, and human-computer interaction. The distinction between academic and industrial research is vanishing, with rapid and broad commercialization of results which has led to a need to strengthen European research excellence to remain competitive.

The ELISE network is set up to be attractive to students and experienced researchers, to sustain itself at the highest level research in academia, and to spread its knowledge and methods in research, industry and society. While ELISE starts from machine learning as a key enabling technology of AI, the network addresses all ways of reasoning, considering all types of data, applicable for almost all sectors of science, industry, and society while being aware of data safety and security, and striving to provide explainable and trustworthy outcomes.

Read more on the FCAI website

Further information

Samuel Kaski
Director, Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI
Professor, Aalto University
Tel. +358 50 305 8694
[email protected]

Communications for ELISE:
Anu Haapala
Communication Coordinator, Aalto University
Tel. +358 50 477 3209
[email protected]

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