Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Knowledge institutions invest EUR 1 billion in AI

13 Dec 2019 14:30 | Communication

Amsterdam's knowledge institutes, including the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), are joining forces and investing EUR 1 billion in the development of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) technologies over the next ten years. The investment will help fund new research programmes, attract top scientists and educate students with state-of-the-art knowledge of AI. This will accelerate collaborations between top institutes around the world, as well as with public partners and the business community.

Under the name ‘AI Technology for People’, Amsterdam’s leading knowledge institutes have committed to investing EUR 1 billion over the next ten years. The investment should make it possible to appoint at least 800 researchers, train 5,000 Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students, allow 10,000 students to follow an AI minor and help develop 100 spin-offs and 100 start-ups.

AI technology for people

Amsterdam has the largest science and innovation ecosystem in the Netherlands and is building on three decades of experience in research, education and innovation in the field of AI. “We have extensive expertise; technological knowledge as well as knowledge about the legal, social and ethical aspects of AI. Yet we too are beginning to feel the shortage of AI talent,” explains Geert ten Dam, President of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). “Extra investments are urgently needed.”
Mirjam van Praag, President of VU Amsterdam, adds: “In this highly competitive world, we need to focus on attracting, developing and retaining talent to ensure that we keep the development of cutting-edge technology under control while upholding our national and European values.”
Huib de Jong, Chairman of the AUAS Executive Board: “The AUAS is a natural partner for bringing AI knowledge to social institutions and businesses. This is why the AUAS has set up an AI Expertise Centre, which has already brought together a large community with six labs. The AUAS sees it as its duty to bring AI to fruition, also for the inhabitants of Amsterdam.”

Focus on people

Amsterdam’s knowledge institutes are focusing on related technological developments: machine learning, hybrid intelligence and explainable AI. It is essential to develop better systems that focus on people, with built-in guarantees for responsible use: AI technology for people. Anita Nijboer, Board member of employers’ organisation VNO-NCW Metropool Amsterdam, is an ambassador of the Amsterdam coalition. The coalition’s approach focuses on three main themes, each of which has a major impact on people’s daily lives and on socioeconomic development in the region: AI for Health, AI for Business Innovation and AI for Citizens.

International cooperation

Amsterdam has joined leading international initiatives such as ELLIS (European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems) and CLAIRE (Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe). On 10 December, ELLIS announced that the UvA had been selected as a centre of excellence because of its proven scientific quality. The ELLIS network, consisting of European cities with top institutes in the field of AI, will facilitate the exchange of researchers and students. As part of this initiative, the unit at the Amsterdam Science Park will be able to appoint new researchers and new PhD students.

Intensive cooperation in Amsterdam

The knowledge institutes work closely with a growing number of companies in public-private research labs housed in ICAI, the national Innovation Centre for Artificial Intelligence at the Amsterdam Science Park. The Atlas Lab was launched with TomTom in November, while previously established partnerships include the AIRlab Amsterdam (joint industrial lab with Ahold Delhaize), the National Police Lab (partnership between UvA, Utrecht University and the National Police Force), Elsevier AI Lab (partnership between UvA, VU Amsterdam and Elsevier), AIM Lab (partnership between UvA and Inception Institute of Artificial Intelligence Ltd.), Delta Lab (partnership between UvA and Bosch) and QUVA Lab (partnership between UvA and Qualcomm), and the gravitation programme Hybrid Intelligence (partnership between e.g. VU Amsterdam and UvA) was launched this year. The AUAS will launch the Expertise Centre for Applied AI on 1 January 2020.

Partners in AI Technology for People

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (of which the Netherlands Cancer Institute is a part), Amsterdam Economic Board, Amsterdam UMC, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (national research institute for mathematics and computer science), City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Sanquin, University of Amsterdam, VU Amsterdam.

Nanda Piersma: Science Director of AUAS Expertise Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence