•  Data streams

    Millions in Funding for AI Research in Berlin

The Berlin AI Competence Centre BIFOLD will receive 22 million Euro annually in the future from the Federal government and the State of Berlin. BIFOLD is thereby intended to establish itself as one of five National AI Competence Centres and internationally as a leading centre for AI research. At the same time, the funding is intended to strengthen further the innovative power of Brain City Berlin.

Science Senator Ulrike Gote described the decision by the Federal Government and the State of Berlin to finance jointly the Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data (BIFOLD), a centre of excellence for AI at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin), on a permanent basis in the future as a “milestone in developing Berlin into a permanent centre of AI research” and at the same time as an “award for the innovative strength emanating from Berlin as a location for science and research”.

As the Senate Department for Higher Education and Research, Health, Long-Term Care and Gender Equality and the TU Berlin announced at the end of June, BIFOLD will receive institutional funding of 22 million Euro annually from 1 July 2022 in order to establish it as one of five National AI Competence Centres. By means of a partnership with the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, it is also to be expanded into a cross-university central institute. A corresponding cooperation agreement will be signed in the coming days. Partnerships with other Berlin institutions are being considered. Half of the future institutional funding will be provided by the Federal government, the other half will be borne by the State of Berlin.

Improving life with AI

BIFOLD emerged in 2020 from two BMBF-funded competence centres at the TU Berlin: the Berlin Big Data Centre (BBDC) and the Berlin Centre for Machine Learning (BZML). The AI competence centre combines research, training and innovation at the interface of Big Data and Machine Learning and is intended to promote research into technological fundamentals at public universities. In terms of content, it is about the question of how AI can improve life.

Another goal of the research centre is “to survive in the international race for the leading minds in AI and, in parallel, to train the urgently needed AI experts of the future”, according to Prof. Dr. Geraldine Rauch, President of the TU Berlin. BIFOLD is thereby significantly strengthening Berlin as a science location. Prof. Dr Klaus-Robert Müller, Co-Director of BIFOLD and Professor of Machine Learning at TU Berlin, also emphasised that it is also a matter of creating knowledge with the help of AI “for example, in medicine or chemistry, to gain genuinely new insights. At the same time, we are developing structures and open platforms for knowledge and technology transfer, thereby promoting an efficient climate of innovation in the Berlin metropolitan region.”

The Federal-State agreement on the establishment of five National AI Competence Centres was adopted by the Federal government and the States of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony in November 2020. A Federal-State committee will accompany the further development of the centres and determine the appropriate framework conditions. As a unique nucleus in the field of Artificial Intelligence, the Berlin AI competence centre BIFOLD is intended to strengthen Berlin further as a science location. BIFOLD is already internationally visible and recognised. (vdo)


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