Efficient technology transfer
As a central networking initiative in the field of artificial intelligence for the federal state of NRW, it is our concern to bundle, strengthen and further develop competencies in the field of AI. An essential factor is to closely interlink science and industry in ordert o achieve an efficient and application-oriented technology transfer. Since its foundation, KI.NRW has already networked numerous companies based in NRW – from corporations to medium-sized companies to start-ups – with universities, colleges and research institutions and initiated application-oriented projects, for example in the fields of health care, industry 4.0 and mobility.
In addition to the application-oriented flagship projects at the interface between research and industry, an interdisciplinary research team from the Universities of Bonn, Cologne, and the Fraunhofer IAIS, in cooperation with the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), is developing a certification to ensure a trustworthy AI that aims to strengthen the trust of companies, users and society in AI applications. The underlying fields of action from a philosophical, ethical, legal and technological point of view were published in a whitepaper as a contribution to the social debate on the trustworthy use of AI and the further development of certification.
Networking and competence bundling
With its office at one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Fraunhofer IAIS in Sankt Augustin, KI.NRW is at the centre of a strong network of research and technology transfer. There are close cooperations with leading institutions in research and teaching in NRW – including the Excellence Universities Bonn and Aachen with the joint “Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology” (b-it), the excellence cluster it’s OWL, the Technical University Dortmund and the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.
KI.NRW is continuously expanding its strategic network and is cooperating with important initiatives at state, federal and EU level. There is intensive cooperation with the Rhine-Ruhr Machine Learning Competence Centre (ML2R). ML2R is one of four nationwide nodes for cutting-edge research and transfer in machine learning, managed by the Technical University of Dortmund and Fraunhofer IAIS. On the European level, KI.NRW cooperates with the initiative “AI4EU – A European AI On-Demand Platform and Ecosystem”.
Focus on the human being
One aspect of North Rhine-Westphalia’s digital strategy is a responsible approach to the development and handling of artificial intelligence that always focuses on people. KI.NRW takes up this aspect and establishes it as an essential basis for all activities in education, in support of the economy or in research.
The catalogue for the certification of artificial intelligence initiated by KI.NRW also focuses on the human-centered approach, orients itself along existing guardrails and aims to strengthen social trust in AI applications. These steps towards an AI seal of quality under ethical, legal and philosophical aspects generate trust, establish the quality brand “AI Made in Germany” from NRW and underline the claim to think artificial intelligence human-centered.
Lifelong Digital Learning
A successful AI strategy in companies must also focus on the training of employees. One important focus of KI.NRW’s activities is therefore the development of competencies with the aim of positioning the state of NRW as a leading region for vocational education and training.
KI.NRW is relying, among other things, on the successful Fraunhofer education initiative “Roberta”, which has been teaching digital skills in schools throughout Germany and worldwide for 17 years. It has already reached more than 450,000 young people. The core of “Roberta® – Learning with Robots” is the hands-on teaching and design of MINT content, especially programming and robotics. As part of KI.NRW, the Roberta team is expanding the initiative to include use in vocational training and further education. In future, for example prospective mechatronics engineers will learn how to program and construct industrial robots using the “Open Roberta” learning platform.
In order to approach the topic of artificial intelligence without technical and professional hurdles, KI.NRW will offer a mobile and web-based learning laboratory, which sees itself as an AI entry format and will provide an overview of the most important technologies and methods of AI. The further training program around courses modules with entrance character is successively developed and continuously updated.
With the development of innovative technologies, North Rhine-Westphalia is expanding its role as a central location for applied artificial intelligence. The certification should ensure the reliable and responsible use of AI applications for the citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany and also serve as a European model..
In order to strengthen the economy in NRW in the field of AI, we promote the development of skills on a broad basis – in companies, in training and further education and at the social level. With the “Data Science Learning Laboratory”, we are creating a digital platform for interactively teaching artificial intelligence technologies to experts in companies. However, we are also already starting vocational training and further education – with new qualification formats, future mechatronics engineers, for example, will be able to learn how to program and construct industrial robots “hands-on”.
We want to intensively shape the social transformation the rapid development of AI technology entails. It is therefore important to provide interested parties from business, science and society with suitable support so that they can also become active. The focus of KI.NRW is the interlinking of research with companies from NRW. In several flagship projects, they are working together to solve socially relevant problems and our KI future.
NRW is already an important European location with many years of expertise in the research and development of artificial intelligence – both in the scientific and corporate environment. In order to further expand this pioneering position, it is necessary to bundle the diverse competencies, establish them in the network and make the AI highlights from NRW internationally visible – for example through our experimental environments and flagship projects in various sectors such as mobility, agriculture, production and health.
KI.NRW is funded by the state ministries MWIDE and MKW and managed by one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Fraunhofer Institute IAIS in Sankt Augustin.