Germany bids to attract artificial intelligence talent

The German Academic Exchange Service, known as DAAD, has launched a call for applications from university consortia to establish artificial intelligence (AI) schools of excellence.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is to provide a total of roughly €25 million (US$29.5 million) for the setting up of three “Konrad Zuse Schools of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence”.

The schools are conceived to run masters and doctoral programmes using cross-institutional, innovative teaching and learning formats and thus provide new incentives for junior scientists in the AI field.

“International competition is tough when it comes to key technologies, and we need higher achievers if Germany is to hold its own in this field,” said German Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek.

“Here, specialists and executive staff are an absolutely crucial competitive factor. We want to train these experts in Germany and make interesting offers to attract international junior scientists to Germany,” she said.

The new AI schools, named after computer inventor Konrad Zuse, are to enable Germany to catch up with international cutting-edge research and development.

Their programmes are to bring together researchers at various universities and extra-university research institutions with experts from industrial research and development departments to train highly talented students and postgraduates at masters and doctoral level.

Each Konrad Zuse School will be run by a German university, with both traditional universities and Universities of Applied Science being invited to apply.

Each of the new schools is to receive up to €3 million of funding a year to cover staff costs and grants, support international mobility of those participating, develop innovative teaching approaches and maintain scientific communication.

Three schools having successfully emerged from the selection procedure are to then commence their activities in the summer of 2022.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the most important research fields of this decade, and beyond it. As a research location, Germany, with its universities, research institutes and enterprises, depends on the reliable training and recruiting of excellent junior scientists both at home and abroad,” said DAAD president Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.

“The KI [AI] Schools, therefore, centre on attracting national and international talent and retaining it in science and industry in Germany.”

Michael Gardner: