FARI receives €10 million relaunch funds to boost artificial intelligence in Brussels

On 25 June, European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen visited the VUB-ULB institute FARI with prime minister Alexander De Croo, as part of the approval of the Belgian recovery plan. FARI, the Artificial Intelligence for the Common Good Institute, will receive €10Β million over the next four years to help the Brussels region in its digital transformation.

FARI is an independent initiative in the field of AI, data and robotics, led by VUB and ULB. Its goal is to help citizens, politicians, businesses and non-profit organisations to address local, everyday or long-term challenges in the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium and Europe. It consists of more than 300 researchers from the two universities, in 10 research labs and 15 disciplines, including computer science, engineering, law and sociology.

The FARI project was selected by the Brussels Capital Region to contribute to local social and economic recovery. The €10 million funding will be used to achieve objectives including:

  • leading and initiating projects to bridge the gap between AI experts, citizens, businesses and public services;
  • offering services to public authorities to support and promote responsible AI projects for Brussels;
  • creating new research and development programmes that ensure the Brussels ecosystem can benefit economically from sustainable AI, data and robotics technologies;
  • developing smart strategies to engage all Brussels citizens and maximise their input in the development of AI projects;
  • setting up an ambitious educational hub (AI Academy) on artificial intelligence, data and robotics, transfer their societal impact to different target groups and support existing Brussels initiatives in this;
  • connecting the Brussels AI ecosystem in an open Test & Experience Centre;
  • helping the Brussels administration to apply these technologies in existing and new services (e.g. via Digital Twin or IOT initiatives);
  • developing 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.

β€œThe 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,” says Barbara Trachte, state secretary for economic transition and scientific research in the government of the Brussels-Capital Region. β€œBy 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, which is now based at BeCentral, has been honoured.”