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'European research center for AI is needed to prevent brain drain'

Some 20 European scientists have set out plans in a letter to set up a large European center for AI research. According to the letter writers, Europe is lagging behind the US and China and a brain drain is threatening if nothing happens.

In the open letter the scientists propose the European Lab for Learning & Intelligent Systems to set up, where the best European academics are appointed and is collaborated with researchers from the industry. The new center, also called Ellis, must ensure that the best research on artificial intelligence in Europe takes place, so that Europe can also ‘influence how machine learning and ai change the world’. In addition, the initiative aims to generate jobs so that Europe can benefit economically.
The center must become an intergovernmental organization, with the idea that France and Germany can be the initial partner countries. In addition, the proposal specifically mentions the Netherlands as ‘an excellent addition’. According to the initiators, appointed researchers can divide their time between the center and their activities at universities, where a special doctoral and master program must be set up around ai.
According to the researchers there is no lack of funding for AI research, but it is ‘extremely difficult’ to attract exceptionally good researchers. The initiators describe that the quality of individual researchers determines the strength of the entire laboratory and that only the best researchers count as ‘talent magnets’. According to the signatories, the US is more aware of this and therefore devotes more money to attracting the best researchers; in Europe there are only a few types of academic positions that make it possible to attract top researchers.
Ultimately, the aim is for the European Lab for Learning & Intelligent Systems to become a high-level center in the field of research into machine intelligence in which it can measure with, among others, Berkeley, Stanford and MIT. The letter-setters want the center to get off the ground this year.
At the end of March, French President Macron already indicated that he wants to compete with China and the US in the field of artificial intelligence. France is going to invest 1.5 billion euros over the next five years to get a top position in the development of ai. He hopes that French top researchers will return abroad. Two weeks ago, 25 Member States of the EU signed a declaration to work together on the development of artificial intelligence in a European context .


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