Long-term strategic research: the ROBUST consortium is under development

Published on: 21 September 2021

During the first round of Long-term Programmes (KIC 2020-2023), the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) selected two strategy-driven consortiums. The NWO is giving one of those research consortiums, called ROBUST, the opportunity to work out the research plan for the coming ten years in greater detail. The final proposal will then be subjected to the regular assessment process with referees and an assessment committee. The Netherlands AI Coalition will be participating in this consortium and we would like to congratulate the other partners on taking this next step.

The ROBUST consortium wants to carry out long-term research into reliable artificial intelligence (AI) as a group totalling 54 partners, including the Netherlands AI Coalition. A total of 21 of the partners are from centres of expertise, including 4 universities of applied sciences; 23 partners are from the commercial sector and 10 are civil society organisations. The research is seeking to achieve breakthroughs in five core dimensions of robust AI: accuracy, reliability, repeatability, resilience and security. The reliability of an AI-based system will be formalised using what are being called ‘charters’, i.e. explicit guarantees about the intended behaviour of the system. Explanations are intrinsically capable of creating confidence among general users, which is why developing explanations and evaluation methods is an essential element of this research.

ROBUST, Trustworthy AI-based systems for sustainable growth

The overall budget for this research is over 95 million euros. The programme leader, Maarten de Rijke (University of Amsterdam and ICAI), says, “The challenges in developing robust AI are huge. We’re focusing on three topics: talent development, learning by doing, and joint knowledge development between centres of expertise, companies and social parties. We can’t wait to get started!” Under the umbrella of the ROBUST programme, seventeen new public-private partnership labs will be launched, aiming to bolster the AI ecosystem in the Netherlands. First of all, we are aiming to create an ambitious and technologically oriented research agenda in reliable AI. Secondly, we will be generating an economic impact and helping achieve sustainable growth by carrying out research in close public-private partnerships. Thirdly, we will be addressing a large number of societal opportunities by sharing and transferring knowledge through open publications, by sharing knowledge in community events and challenges, and by holding special AI clinics aimed at SMEs and start-ups.

More information?

Read more about this Long-term Programme (KIC), which is under development.


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