The European Commission has launched its call to develop a vibrant European Network of Artificial Intelligence Excellence Centres. Proposals can be submitted until 13 November 2019 to finance projects under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020.

logo of the call

With a world-class community of scientists and a strong research infrastructure, Europe has an important potential in leading technological advancements on Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is therefore essential that the best research teams in Europe join forces to tackle major scientific and technological challenges, hampering the deployment of AI-based solutions.


After an investment of EUR 20 million for the creation of AI4EU, an online platform that allows the exchange of AI tools and resources across Europe, the Commission is taking its next step towards a long-term effort to unify the European AI community and make Europe a powerhouse of AI. The call articulates in two actions:

1. Research and Innovation Action to mobilise the best researchers into networks of excellence centres that will reach a critical mass on key AI topics.

2. Coordination and Support Action to foster exchange between the selected projects, and other relevant initiatives. 

These actions are expected to create synergies with the industrial sector and foster an ecosystem of R&D resources, expertise and infrastructure (in areas such as HPC, robotics equipment, IoT infrastructure). Academia has a key part here, as priority is given to the development of PhD programmes, the integration of AI in curricula (also in non-ICT related courses) and the organisation of internships.

Proposals for the “ICT-48-2020 – Towards a vibrant European network of AI excellence centres” can be submitted until 13 November 2019.

Additional material from the information event organised earlier this year, is available online.

Call details


Background Information

As stated in the European AI Strategy, a swift take up of technological advancements in AI can boost Europe’s digital, industrial socio-economic capacities and ensure strategic autonomy. To this aim, an upgraded research infrastructure for the development of applications in key sectors, combined with the facilitation of AI uptake and access to data, are fundamental. This implies stepping up investments to strengthen research and boost scientific breakthroughs.

In the Coordinated Plan for AI, the European Commission together with Member States have committed to:

  • mobilise the best research teams in Europe to join forces to tackle more efficiently major scientific and technological challenges in AI hampering the deployment of AI-based solutions
  • mobilise and integrate the industry, fostering industry-academia collaboration  

Moving forward to this commitment, the Commission has increased its annual investments in AI by 70% under the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, pointing at a total of EUR 1.5 billion for the period 2018-2020.