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European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen visits AI institute at VUB and ULB

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The EC President, together with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, visited the VUB-ULB institute FARI as part of the approval of the Belgian relaunch plan. FARI is the artificial intelligence institute for the Common Good. FARI (VUB - ULB) will receive ten million euros to help the Brussels capital in its digital transformation.

FARI is an independent initiative in the field of artificial intelligence, data and robotics, led by two universities in Brussels: the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). This initiative aims to help citizens, politicians and companies as well as non-profit organizations address local, everyday or long-term challenges in the Brussels Capital Region, Belgium and Europe. It consists of more than 300 researchers from both universities, associated with ten research labs and fifteen disciplines (from Computer Science and Engineering to Law and Sociology).

The FARI project was selected by the Brussels Capital Region (BCR) to contribute to local social and economic recovery. FARI will receive ten million euros for this purpose over the next four years.

With these funds an important task awaits FARI. The objectives include:

  • Lead and initiate projects to bridge the gap between AI experts, citizens, businesses and public services.
  • Provide services to public authorities to support and promote responsible AI projects for Brussels.
  • Create new research and development programs that ensure that the Brussels ecosystem can benefit economically from sustainable AI, Data and Robotics technologies.
  • Develop smart strategies, to engage all Brussels residents and maximize their input into the development of AI projects.
  • To set up an ambitious educational hub (AI Academy) on artificial intelligence, data and robotics and transfer their societal impact to different target groups (and support existing Brussels initiatives in this).
  • Connect the Brussels AI Ecosystem in an open Test & Experience Center.
  • Help the Brussels administration to apply these technologies in Brussels in existing and new services (e.g. through Digital Twin or IOT initiatives).
  • Develop FARI's roadmap in such a way that it will contribute to the digital innovation strategy related to AI, Data and Robotics technology for the Brussels Capital Region.

"The FARI project - AI for the Common Good, is one of the flagships submitted by the Brussels Government as part of the Belgian Recovery and Resilience Plan. In doing so, the Brussels Region is demonstrating its ambition to support researchers who want to develop this technology while addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. I am delighted that the Belgian plan has now been officially accepted by the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, and that FARI, now based at BeCentral, has been put in the spotlight," said Barbara Trachte, State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research in the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region.

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