On the occasion of the Belgian AI week organized by AI4Belgium, the Free University of Brussels (ULB), the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the government of the Brussels-Capital Region launched FARI, a new artificial intelligence institute for the common good. The project has received a budget of 10 million euros from the Brussels-Capital Region, as part of the recovery plan. Its stated aim is to “help citizens, politicians, businesses and non-profit organisations to meet immediate or longer-term challenges”.
The launch was attended by Annemie Schaus and Caroline Pauwels, respectively rectors of the ULB and the VUB, who presented the institute and pointed out that this initiative had also received the support of the ministers of the Brussels-Capital Region, Barbara Trachte and Bernard Clerfayt.
FARI is a unique structure that brings together more than 300 researchers in AI and related disciplines around projects that can benefit the public interest. The institute will encourage research on trustworthy, transparent and explainable artificial intelligence.
It will also aim to help the Brussels-Capital Region and its inhabitants to meet the challenges they face in various fields. FARI researchers will provide ideas and contribute to projects on transportation, sustainable development, health services, civic consultations on AI and algorithms. Its projects will actively engage citizens and enhance education on AI and its impacts in the region.
The institute aims to create a bridge between AI experts, citizens, businesses and local organizations. It will have three clusters: a think tank/data tank research and innovation cluster, a think tank on AI for society and societal impact goals and exploration of the ethical aspects of AI, data and society, and an AI testing and experience cluster.
The institute has now officially started its activities in 2021, from pilot projects to outreach activities (conferences, partnerships, co-creation workshop, living labs) and then will also add training. It will move into its BeCentral offices in April 2021.