“With the hub, we will bring together as much knowledge on AI as possible. This will strengthen the companies and the region and will help us to further develop the regional AI strategy, which is characterised by human centric AI. Public values and the ethical side of AI are of course central to this,” says Arjan van den Born, director of ROM Regio Utrecht, the coordinator of the hub. With the formation of the hub, consortia are strengthened and the AINED report and the Action Agenda of the Netherlands AI Coalition, of which the realisation of one national AI network is one of the pillars, are followed up. The hub will not only focus on the frontrunners who are working on groundbreaking innovations, but also on those companies and institutions that are exploring this field.
Solving regional challenges with AI
The AI hub wants to boost digital innovations in the region and create a platform where companies, governments and knowledge institutions can meet and inspire each other. Special attention is paid to supporting and shaping strong application areas for AI in the region, such as Media and Culture, Care, Mobility, Energy, Construction, Fintech and other (digital) services. One of the focal points is close cooperation between the Utrecht knowledge institutes (WO, HBO, TNO, RIVM) and public and private organisations in the field of AI knowledge development and innovation. The hub focuses on accelerating innovation around AI and ‘datafication’. A final spearhead is to make the potential of AI visible to the region and to make meaningful connections with partners outside the region and in Europe.
The AI hub already consists of ROM Regio Utrecht (coordinator), Universiteit Utrecht, UMC Utrecht, Hogeschool Utrecht, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Province of Utrecht, Municipality of Utrecht, Municipality of Amersfoort, Municipality of Hilversum and the Economic Board Utrecht. Various leading companies are also present, varying from ICT companies such as Capgemini and Conclusion, numerous companies that are active in the Media Park Hilversum, such as VPRO, Mediaperspectives and the PublicSpaces coalition, but also Rabobank, Prorail, NS, VodafoneZiggo, DIKW, Viqtor Davis and Pon have joined in.
The hub aims to involve all public and private parties in the Central Netherlands, including the many startups and scale-ups in this field.
Others AI hubs
In addition to the AI Hub Central Netherlands, the AI Hub Brainport, AI Hub South Holland, AI Hub East Netherlands and AI Hub North have recently started their activities as network organisations. Together, the AI-hubs function as a common point of contact for companies and knowledge institutions in the region that want to work with AI.