Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming one of the critical drivers for future progress and well-being and will have a major impact on all business sectors, our private lives and society as a whole. By fostering proactive and interdisciplinary AI development we can influence how AI will be applied to social and economic challenges and how society can genuinely benefit from it.
Overview of the ROBUST Initiative
ROBUST is an initiative by the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI), supported by the University of Amsterdam and 51 government, industry and knowledge-sector partners, including Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). ROBUST aims to strengthen the Dutch AI ecosystem by boosting fundamental AI research. The initiative focuses on trustworthy AI technology for solving socially relevant issues, such as healthcare, logistics, media, food and energy.
Announcement of Funding for Long Term ROBUST Program
The Dutch Research Council (NWO) announced that it has earmarked € 25 million for the Long-Term ROBUST program for the next 10 years. The program will recruit 170 new PhD candidates over the next decade. A portion of this funding will be used to set up two new ICAI Labs in Rotterdam. Another portion will be used for a program for solving AI related challenges with and for small to medium sized companies (SMEs) in the region, called Zuid Holland SME AI Clinics.
Two new ICAI Labs
EUR and Erasmus MC are collaborating with Philips to launch ICAI Stroke Lab, a research initiative that aims to improve the outcome for stroke patients. The lab will focus on developing AI-based models for various stages in the patient journey, including calling 112 and rehabilitation, and assessing these models for clinical practice. The goal is to support healthcare professionals during decision-making with data-driven AI modeling tools and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire stroke patient journey.
The Trustworthy AI for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (TAIMRI) Lab is a collaboration between Erasmus MC, General Electric Healthcare, and EUR that aims to improve the quality of MRI-based diagnosis using AI methods. The lab will focus on neurological and musculoskeletal diseases by optimising the full chain from image acquisition to image analysis and introduction of AI-supported acquisition and diagnosis in clinical practice. There will be five research projects, such as developing smart, adaptive MRI protocols for precision diagnosis and developing trustworthy AI for integrated diagnostics of brain tumors. These improvements will form the basis for clinical MR scanning in the future.
Just like the other ICAI labs, the ROBUST labs will put the twin-win principle into practice: intensive public-private research partnerships in AI technology that lead to open publications and solutions that have been validated in practice. By testing scientific findings within an industry context, research and practice come together at an earlier stage, allowing for far better validation of the results. In this way, research validation doesn’t end in the lab, but also in the outside world.
SME AI Clinic
In addition to the ICAI Labs, the province of Zuid Holland will receive its first SME AI Clinic, one of the six SME AI Clinics being launched along the axis of the Netherlands AI Coalition hubs. The clinic will offer SMEs in Zuid Holland the opportunity to tackle their AI problems together with students. By having student teams work on AI challenges faced by SMEs, the economic development of Zuid Holland province will be boosted. Furthermore, through this collaboration on projects, the SMEs will grow their AI expertise. Erasmus Research Services Business Developer Parul Benien and Erasmus Enterprise Business Developer Liesje Goldschmidt are involved with the Zuid Holland SME AI Clinic.
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