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Inria and DFKI Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in AI

29 January 2020

On the first anniversary of the Aachen Treaty (22 January 2020), the French National Institute for Information Technology, Inria, and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, DFKI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

Within the framework of the Aachen Treaty of January 22, 2019, Inria and DFKI have now agreed to significantly strengthen their cooperation in the field of AI by structuring and formalizing their cooperation. As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding between Inria and DFKI was signed on the first year anniversary of the treaty. The ceremony took place in Saarbr├╝cken at the Power4Production innovation laboratory in the presence of Tobias Hans, Minister-President of Saarland and State Secretary Heike Raab, Representative of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate to the Federal Government and for Europe, for Media and Digital.

Inria CEO Bruno Sportisse stated: “This MoU between DFKI and Inria illustrates the momentum of the French-German cooperation on AI within the European dynamics, following the Aachen Treaty and the recent meeting of Toulouse. Our national plans dedicated to AI promote bilateral partnerships between research organizations from both countries. DFKI and Inria share a similar and open vision about AI and this paves the way for new opportunities in order to strengthen our partnership on concrete projects, both at bilateral and European levels”.

DFKI and Inria have a long history of scientific cooperation and dialogue. This dialogue was strengthened in 2019 through bilateral visits and regular high-level meetings, which have led to a shared diagnosis and vision for the challenges of AI and digital sovereignty in Europe.

The Future Relationship

In the future, the two scientific institutions will cooperate within the framework of a joint strategic research and innovation agenda in the areas such as AI for INDUSTRIE 4.0, AI infrastructures, AI and cybersecurity, human-robot cooperation and wearables. At the heart of the agreement there is also a strong joint commitment to the European AI initiative CLAIRE (Confederation of Labs for AI Research in Europe) to bring European AI researchers closer together and to jointly advance European research for AI that benefits people while respecting fundamental European values.

Specific measures include the implementation of joint research and innovation projects, which partly build on existing projects of both organizations, as well as new topics, which are defined and worked out in joint workshops. The signing of the MoU was preceded by a workshop in Nancy on 20th and 21st January with more than 80 participants, in which both institutes explored common potentials and which was the prelude to regular working meetings and exchanges. Selected topics on which these projects will focus are:

  • Trust through Explainability and Certification of AI-Systems
  • Surpassing the language barriers in Europe and the world
  • Breakthrough with AI in Health and Personalized Medicine
  • Better HW/SW infrastructure for AI (e.g., TPUs, FPGA, Quantum, etc.)
  • Application of AI to Sustainability (e.g., Climate)
  • Using AI to improve the competitiveness of European industry
  • Education and training in AI & AI for education and training

The partners are confident that their cooperation on these issues will help build a society that unites the people of Europe, that includes everyone, and uses technology to serve people. In the future, Inria and DFKI intend to work together to advance research programs and activities on a European level in a coordinated manner. Joint proposals have already been submitted under the ICT 48 call for the creation of centers of excellence for AI. A joint steering committee consisting of representatives of the management of DFKI and Inria will define the concrete projects of cooperation and foster their implementation.