ELLIS is creating a network of research sites distributed across Europe and Israel consisting of ELLIS Units and ELLIS Institutes. Currently, there are 41 ELLIS Units in 16 countries. The first ELLIS Institute in Tübingen (Germany) took up operations in 2023.
The long-term goal is to establish a set of world-class ELLIS Institutes, each acting as the core of a local AI ecosystem. This whitepaper sets out an approach to developing such institutes and lists relevant criteria.
New environments for outstanding researchers
Highly innovative ecosystems emerge at outstanding academic institutions like Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, and ETH, which serve as international talent magnets and incubators of innovation. Thus, rather than just building a “virtual” network amongst institutions, ELLIS aims at creating new working environments for outstanding researchers to enable them to combine cutting-edge research paired with the creation of start-ups and industrial impact. As a stepping stone towards this goal, in September 2019 ELLIS started establishing smaller ELLIS Units based on a call for proposals carefully reviewed by an international selection committee. Currently, there are 41 ELLIS Units in 16 countries. These units bring together the best AI researchers at their locations and fulfill a set of criteria to ensure excellence and to be maximally competitive at the international level.
Beyond this grassroots initiative, ELLIS also calls for action directed towards European countries willing to invest in excellence in AI to set up larger ELLIS Institutes that are strong and agile enough to be able to compete with the best of academia and industry worldwide.
Budget of ELLIS Units and Institutes
An ELLIS Unit has an annual budget of at least EUR 1.5 million, while a full-fledged ELLIS Institute will require more significant resources (building costs as well as an annual budget increasing to EUR 30 million). Excellent researchers at other sites can be connected to ELLIS units and institutes via fellowships, and the sites work closely together in research, training and infrastructure.
Calls for new ELLIS Units
ELLIS regularly issues calls for proposals for new ELLIS Units. There is currently no fixed timeline for the next call. ELLIS would like to collect feedback from the existing units before launching the next call for new units. An example of guidelines on how to submit a proposal from one of the previous calls can be found here.