|At this point in time, Artificial Intelligence is making an important contribution to solving the challenges of tomorrow, from efficient use of energy, digital transformation, environmental protection and the use of new mobility to personalized medicine or data management. But what is the current status of AI in the Upper Rhine region and Basel Area?|
The trinational German-French-Swiss metropolitan region of the Upper Rhine includes the Alsace, the western part of the state of Baden-Württemberg (including the regions of the Mittlerer and Südlicher Oberrhein and the districts of Lörrach and Waldshut), one part of the Südpfalz and the cantons of Northwestern Switzerland Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Solothurn, Jura and Aargau. In the subregions that belong to the AI European Valley, several initiatives and projects related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been launched.We have compiled a representative, non-exhaustive list of strategic and structure-building regional initiatives to support the development of the AI industry in the Upper Rhine. Get to know tools, measures and actions and learn more about opportunities for AI in the areas of business, education and further training, financing, research and cooperation.
Solution providers, start-ups and companies or local authorities are encouraged to reach out directly to each other. The exchange promotes the transfer of knowledge and technology from the high-level research centers located in the region to companies who are looking for suitable solutions to optimize their production tools, logistics chains, and to also develop new applications in their field of activity. Additionally, the goal of all these offers is to strengthen interregional cooperation in the field of AI.
Success with AI through strong networks
AI requires new skills and ways of thinking for most companies – and it costs time and money. Collaborations between different partners facilitate efficient acquisition of new skills by sharing risks and resources. The initiatives below promote networking and pragmatic learning of AI.
AI plan of the Grand Est region
The AI plan of the Grand Est region is part of the overall regional digital plan, which also includes topics like data, cybersecurity, trusted cloud, blockchain and networked objects. The aim is to mobilize 350 million euro over five years to implement structuring measures. The aim is to increase the competitiveness of businesses, support scientific excellence, accompany the development of start-ups and develop regional skills.
Some of the tools that companies can use include:
- Primo IA: financial support for companies when hiring AI specialists for the first time for a first AI project.
- Bonus IA: additional R&D start-up funding for projects that include an AI component.
- Listing of AI solution providers and inclusion in national and European mappings.
Grand Enov+ Agence d’innovation du Grand Est
Alexis Steiner, Project Manager Artificial Intelligence firstname.lastname@example.org
AI Now takes place annually during the first half of the year. The event is primarily aimed at professionals from the private, non-profit and institutional sectors. Similar to the #GEN event, which focuses on the digital transition of people and organizations, A.I_now aims to contribute to an economic and “cultural” dynamic in the field of Artificial Intelligence in the region.
The next event will take place on 17 March 2022 via a hybrid format: in Metz, which is located in the center of the Grand Est region, and online.
Lecture series held by Alsace Tech on Artificial Intelligence
Alsace Tech is launching its second series of conferences on Artificial Intelligence in 2022. The virtual events, aimed at scientific players and companies, will highlight the latest developments in the use of AI in various fields, such as industry, chemistry and construction. They will also address the ethical issues involved in its use.
Stéphane Klein, Company Spokesperson
Trinational Innovation Day
The first edition of the “Innovation Day” between Germany, Switzerland and France and a milestone of the Ktur project will take place in Strasbourg on 12 April 2022. This trinational event will be an exceptional opportunity to exchange information on the knowledge and technology transfer taking place in the Upper Rhine, to establish contacts with innovation players and to discover influential speakers from the world of companies, start-ups and research. As a central innovation theme for the Upper Rhine, AI will come to the fore during the day in the shape of workshops, presentations and meetings.
Université de Strabourg
Audrey Leclerc, Event Manager
National Digital Hub applied AI Karlsruhe /de:hub Initiative
The Digital Hub Karlsruhe supports companies from all sectors in dealing with Artificial Intelligence, starting from the basics to implementation. The Digital Hub Applied AI in Karlsruhe, funded by the Ministry of Economics BW, is part of the Germany-wide Digital Hub Initiative initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. At twelve interlinked locations, established companies work together with innovation partners from the start-up scene and science.
DIZ | Digitales Innovationszentrum
Josephine Simon, Hub Coordination
Digital Hub Network Baden-Württemberg
The regional digital hubs are focal points for digital innovations in the regions of Baden-Württemberg. A wide variety of skills, disciplines, ideas, technologies and creativity come together in these unique digitalization centers. The Digital Hubs are coordinated and connected in the Digital Hub Network Baden-Württemberg.
DIZ | Digitales Innovationszentrum
Jakob Ilg, Project Management
The 19 regional AI labs are available as contact points for companies that want to use the potential of AI for their own individual needs. Especially SMEs are offered the opportunity to learn about the potential of AI by attending information events, workshops or participating in project work. Pilot projects receive straightforward support so that even companies without prior knowledge can quickly gain practical experience.
DIZ | Digitales Innovationszentrum
Alexander Dregger, Project Management
AIxIA Artificial Intelligence meets Intelligence Artificielle
AIxIA is the first French-German conference on applied AI to promote cooperation between Germany and France and advance the European AI model. Thanks to its world-class keynotes and practical and business-oriented application examples, the AIxIA conference is a perfect example of international collaboration and cross-border innovation.
DIZ I Digitales Innovationszentrum
Josephine Simon, Event Manager
SDaCathon: hackathon AI & Construction “Make construction sexy again!”
The mission at SDaC is to become the AI engine of the construction industry. Via this online hackathon, which will take place on 22 May 2022, creative ideas will be developed and the latest technologies will be used.
Cyber Forum e.V
Kerstin Goos, Event Manager
German-French networking on AI & Industry 4.0
Intensifying cooperation in the field of Artificial Intelligence – that is the goal of the recently launched project “French-German Networking on Industry 4.0 and Applied Artificial Intelligence”, funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg. The project lays the foundation for the development and establishment of a German-French AI ecosystem that enables players from science, business and politics as well as intermediaries to network with each other and encourages them to be in constant exchange
DIZ Digitales Innovationszentrum
Ceren Akbaba, Project Management
CC-KING Competence Center AI Engineering
CC-KING is the competence center for AI engineering of the Karlsruhe research institutions Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB, FZI Research Center for Information Technology and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It establishes a link between cutting-edge AI research and established engineering disciplines and thus aims to promote the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) methods in practice.
Competence Center for AI Engineering
AI Karlsruhe-Ontario Event Series
Jointly organized by the Government of Ontario (Canada) and Cyberforum Karlsruhe (Germany), the AI event series brings together potential partners, customers and interested parties and promotes exchange on current topics.
Gennadi Schermann, Head of Innovation & Digital Ecosystems
The 12 digital hubs across the state, including the DIGIHUB Südbaden for the Offenburg-Freiburg-Lörrach region, are focal points for digital innovations in the regions of Baden-Württemberg. They are regional contact points for SMEs from all sectors with questions about digitalization. They are basically designed to be open to all sectors and offer the opportunity to learn about digitalization on site, to experience digitalization and to develop and test new ideas for digital projects in experimental spaces.
Fabian Burggraf, Managing Director
KI Zirkel Südbaden
The KI-Zirkel Südbaden was initiated by microTEC Südwest as part of the Allianz Industrie 4.0 in order to render the AI competence in the region of Südbaden (South Baden) visible and to highlight the high level of regional expertise. The focus is on networking with the aim of making AI application-ready.
Christine Neuy, Managing Director
>Smart> Green Accelerator
The >SMART> GREEN Accelerator and Incubator in Freiburg focuses on environmental technology, energy, green digital and sustainable consumption. It accelerates start-ups in the green economy by means of programs, the establishment of industry collaborations and access to financing instruments.
>Smart> Green Accelerator
c/o Grünhof GmbH
Konrad Pfitzer, Managing Director
International AI Alliance
The development agency Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i) is building a cooperation alliance on the topic of AI with partners worldwide. In addition to Baden-Württemberg, Switzerland and Dubai, the founding members are the Canadian regions of Ontario and Québec as well as Pittsburgh (USA) and North Brabant (Netherlands).
Cornelia Frank, Head of Internationalization & Investment
AI4SME offers companies the opportunity to discover AI in a pragmatic way by sharing risks and resources. In this manner, companies, solution providers and higher education institutions can develop joint proofs of concept.
The i4Challenge is an accelerator for innovative 4.0 solutions for companies. Launched in 2018 by Basel Area Business & Innovation, it aims to highlight the best solutions, products and services created in Switzerland and in the trinational region of the Upper Rhine. The competition also connects innovators with potential customers and cooperation partners and gives participants the opportunity to present and develop their projects. The competition is aimed at SMEs and start-ups and is co-financed as part of the TITAN-E project.
The DayOne Accelerator promotes promising companies who combine innovative technologies and expertise in the area of healthcare with entrepreneurial spirit. The Accelerator targets innovative companies who solve problems in healthcare; from diagnosis, treatment, prevention, communication with patients and caregivers to improvements that directly help healthcare workers.
Shaping Europe’s digital future: European Digital Innovation Hubs
With the help of the Digital Europe Program, a nationwide network of “European Digital Innovation Hubs” (EDIH) is to be established in the EU. 14-18 EDIHs are planned for Germany. The actual number depends, among other things, on the funds available from the EU. Currently, various applications from Baden-Württemberg are being prepared, such as the projects “EDIH AICS” from the Karlsruhe region and “EDIH Südwest” from the administrative district of Freiburg. Directly linked to the ambitions of the Business Act Grand Est, the EDIH application of the Région Grand Est envisages a single contact point for the region’s business community in the field of digitalization, facilitating the establishment of contacts and accelerating business development. The deadline for the EU-wide call is 22nd February 2022.
Artificial Intelligence requires a cultural change
Artificial Intelligence is “the set of theories and techniques used to produce machines capable of simulating human intelligence”. This promising technology requires an “acculturation” of the players, a cultural change in the sense of a mutual adaptation process to new competences and partners.
This cultural change is likely to be necessary sooner than expected for many players: according to the Gartner Hype Cycle, many AI technologies are likely to become mature for application and reach the “plateau of productivity” in the next two to five years.
AI will change everyday life and living in a profound manner. It will quickly affect all players and all sectors, and its adoption will impact the ability of regions, their businesses and society as a whole to adapt to the world of tomorrow. In the light of this development, regional players responsible for innovation promotion and relevant bodies are developing ambitious initiatives and strategies to strengthen the cooperation of key players in digital transformation and AI, covering the entire value chain.
Via the expert group “Promotion of Innovation”, The Upper Rhine Conference has set itself the goal of drawing up a representative but non-exhaustive list of strategic and structure-building regional initiatives to support the development of the AI sector. With a view to improving the networking of economic and scientific players in the Upper Rhine region, the working group works closely with the Trinational Metropolitan Region Upper Rhine (TMO).
With regard to this relatively new technology, it seemed important to bring these programs and projects to the attention of the largest possible public in order to support the development of AI on a trinational level and to highlight the strengths of the Upper Rhine and its actors in this field.
The expert group “Promotion of Innovation” is composed of representatives of the organizations and networks responsible for promoting economic development and innovation in the three regions that make up the Upper Rhine:
- Adira, Jean-Michel Staerlé
- Basel Area Business & Innovation, Sébastien Meunier
- CCI Alsace Eurometropole, Danièle Schmitt
- Cyber Forum Karlsruhe, Gennadi Schermann
- FWTM, Michael Richter
- Grand-Enov+, Apolline Busch
- IHK Südlicher Oberrhein, André Olveira-Lenz
- Coordination Offices of the Science and Business Pillars of the TMO, Julie Corouge, Philippe Fraunhofer
As a trinational exchange platform, this group initiates and supports innovative projects between France, Germany and Switzerland and helps to highlight the Upper Rhine as a uniquely innovative European border region.
If you would like to share more AI initiatives with us or learn more about the projects, please do not hesitate to contact us!