Representatives of the ELLIS Board recently shared their vision for AI in Europe during a high-level workshop in Brussels organized by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The event brought together experts from politics and science to discuss elements of a sovereign AI research policy for Europe, including joint efforts to promote young international AI talent.
Among the speakers and panelists of the workshop in January were the German Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the French Minister for Higher Education and Research Sylvie Retailleau, the Undersecretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education Andrzej Szeptycki, as well as representatives from the EU and AI research institutions in Europe. ELLIS was represented by President Bernhard Schölkopf and Board Member Florence d'Alché-Buc, and referred to by multiple other speakers, including German State Secretary Sabine Döring and the Polish representative Andrzej Szeptycki.
“Too many research programmes at national and European level go in the same direction and create a funding jungle instead of a coordinated programme. In order to be attractive to top researchers from all over the world, we therefore need an overarching and networked European initiative”, highlights Sabine Döring. “Our aim is to work with our partners in Europe to create a platform as a contact point for top researchers from all over the world in order to actively promote this idea”, she adds.
During the high-level meeting, discussions centered around opportunities for organizing, distributing and financing AI infrastructures at both the European and EU member state levels. The group also explored ideas for jointly promoting young international AI talent in Europe - a topic which is a strategic priority for ELLIS. With the ELLIS PhD Program, the network has implemented a competitive pan-European PhD program aimed at attracting and retaining outstanding young researchers from around the world.
ELLIS PhD students benefit from joint supervision in the European ELLIS network
The ELLIS representatives provided insights into the program and outlined its potential for facilitating PhD training in Europe: Since its inception in 2020, the program has attracted more than 7,000 applications from all over the world, around 300 of which successfully secured a PhD position in the program. ELLIS PhD students benefit from joint supervision by two leading AI researchers at different institutions in Europe and are integrated into an international network of top scientists early in their careers. European cooperation is essential for the program: In the challenge of attracting international talent, many European institutions face difficulty when acting alone. ELLIS, however, offers a significant added value by leveraging its extensive research network for the joint training of doctoral students. Moreover, the program’s central application portal has proven to be a key success factor, as it allows PhD candidates to reach many European top AI labs with just a single application.
“The IDEAS NCBR institute in Warsaw has just founded an ELLIS unit, following a rigorous selection process where international reviewers got convinced that the unit will make a major contribution towards strategically developing the ELLIS network. This further extends our talent base, and we are happy to invite Poland to join France and Germany to develop the ELLIS PhD Program into the leading international networking platform for AI talent”, says Bernhard Schölkopf.
BMBF established ELLIS as an international networking platform for young AI researchers
As part of its AI Action Plan presented last year, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) established ELLIS as a European and international networking platform for young AI researchers. The successful use of AI in Europe requires excellence and cooperation on a large scale. At ELLIS, 41 units in 16 countries and more than 1,000 members collaborate to build up a pan-European AI network of excellence. The most recent unit that joined the network is the ELLIS Unit in Warsaw hosted by IDEAS NCBR. IDEAS NCBR was represented at the workshop in Brussels by their Board Member Grażyna Żebrowska.
ELLIS is a pan-European AI network of excellence. It builds upon machine learning as the driver for modern AI and aims to secure lasting international leadership of AI made in Europe by connecting top researchers in this field and by creating a multi-centric AI research laboratory. Founded in 2018, ELLIS has grown into a network that counts 41 ELLIS units at world-class institutions in 16 countries, 16 ELLIS programs and a pan-European PhD program. The members of ELLIS are committed to shaping the future of AI in Europe by pushing the scientific and technological boundaries for human-centered, beneficial and safe AI.
Read the article “German Federal Ministry of Education and Research establishes ELLIS as a European and international networking platform for young AI researchers” here.
Learn more about the ELLIS PhD Program here. This program has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under ELISE Grant Agreement No. 951847.
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