$100M Funding Initiative Will Explore AI Research

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has launched a strategic funding initiative in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). €90 million (~$100 million US) has been earmarked for two main initiatives:

  1. funding of up to 30 independent junior research groups in the DFG’s Emmy Noether Program. The program gives exceptionally qualified early career researchers the chance to qualify for the post of professor at a university by leading an independent junior research group for a period of six years; and,
  2. funding of up to eight research units to promote collaboration between researchers in the field of AI techniques and researchers from other disciplines.

In a press release, DFG stressed that artificial intelligence techniques are increasingly becoming an integral part of the research process in many branches of science. The initiative highlights the need for top-level academic research in AI, the need to examine important and fundamental research questions pertaining to philosophy, law, and social sciences in the context of artificial intelligence, and the desire to position Germany’s AI research landscape internationally.

Calls for proposals for the strategic funding initiative will be announced this year and the first funding decisions will be made in 2020.

Earlier this year, DFG partnered with the French National Research Agency (ANR, France), and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST, Japan) for the first trilateral call for research proposals on AI. The collaboration has the goal of presenting the direction of the future digital economy and society through technical progress in AI research to strengthen trust, transparency and fairness, as well as improving performance and investigating AI methods.