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The DFG has launched a strategic funding initiative in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Projects from all areas of AI research have been financed in various funding programmes in the years 2020 to 2022 as part of the initiative. After two successful calls within the Emmy Noether Programme and one within the framework of the Research Units, the funding initiative is currently being evaluated and new rounds of calls for proposals are paused for the time being.
Artificial intelligence techniques are increasingly becoming an integral part of the research process in many branches of science. In recognition of this, the AI initiative addresses different areas of action: On the one hand, it highlights the need for top-level academic research in this area closely interlinking research on AI methods with basic research in the disciplines in which AI methods are increasingly being used. At the same time, success in the competition for the best researchers in this field plays an important role in terms of positioning Germany’s AI research landscape internationally.
One focus of the initiative is the funding of independent junior research groups in the DFG's Emmy Noether Programme. These groups are expected to draw in the next generation of highly qualified researchers who focus on AI methods by opening up career options with a high level of autonomy at an early stage. Spread across three proposal rounds in successive years, up to 30 independent junior research groups will be established in the course of the initiative.
The second focus of the initiative is to promote the interlinking of AI methods with areas of research that either use AI techniques to gain scientific insights or that investigate overarching issues related to the use of AI. The call for proposals envisions funding for up to eight Research Units.
The call is geared at teams of outstanding researchers seeking to collaborate on AI methods for the purposes mentioned above. Research projects of exceptional scientific quality and originality are eligible for funding. The cooperation of the participating researchers within the Research Unit or Centre for Advanced Studies must generate a distinct added value that clearly exceeds the possibilities of individual project grants.