News Entry

ZaKI.D: New Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence in Duisburg


Duisburg raises 18 million euros in funding for a new AI center

Artificial intelligence is a comprehensive and constantly changing technology that is already transforming our work and private world. This is accompanied by changes in activities, but above all new jobs are emerging that require new skills. In order to actively help shape this change, the city of Duisburg will establish the “Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence Duisburg (ZaKI.D)”. The aim is to help small and medium-sized companies in the region to integrate AI systems into their own operations and products. The project is being funded with roughly 18 million euros and will run for four years. In addition to the city of Duisburg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS, the University of Duisburg-Essen and KROHNE Messtechnik GmbH are also involved in the project.

“North Rhine-Westphalia has long been leading the way when it comes to artificial intelligence – research and applications here are embedded in an ever-growing ecosystem that is also attracting international attention. We want to make full use of the power of AI for the digital and climate-neutral transformation of our economy. In Duisburg, the Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence will support companies in the region in the future to promote the use of AI for products and processes. In addition, a planned AI innovation incubator will be a contact point for start-ups and provide significant support for local start-up activities. This will create new jobs in the region and strengthen North Rhine-Westphalia as an attractive and competitive location in the long term,” says Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The center focuses on the implementation of AI systems on extremely resource-constrained devices, such as sensors or other smart devices. This should help small and medium-sized companies in particular to avoid data protection problems and to be able to offer new services directly with the product or in a machine.

In organizational terms, the project will be based on three pillars: SME support for the transfer of existing AI algorithms into applications, the establishment of an academy for training and further education, and the creation of an AI innovation incubator to provide assistance for spin-offs and start-ups.

The project is being funded with around 17 million euros from the federal STARK program (Strengthening Transformation Dynamics and New Beginnings in the Coal Mining Regions and at Coal-fired Power Plant Sites). The state government is supplementing the funding with around 800,000 euros. “Through the AI Center, we are actively shaping structural change and creating scope for development for companies,” says Mayor Sören Link. ZaKI.D will create around 30 project-related jobs and up to 500 external skilled jobs.