The Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe (CLAIRE) is an organisation created by the European AI community that seeks to strengthen European excellence in AI research and innovation, with a strong focus on human-centred AI. CLAIRE aims to establish a world-wide brand recognition for “AI made in Europe” (at the level of CERN), and to position Europe in control of its own future. CLAIRE was launched in June 2018 and now has the support of more than 3,900 people, most of them scientists, technologists, and researchers in Artificial Intelligence. The supporters represent the vast majority of Europe’s AI community, spanning academia and industry, research and innovation. Among the supporters are more than 140 fellows from various key scientific associations.
CLAIRE has opened administrative offices in The Hague, Saarbrücken, Prague, Rome, Brussels, Oslo, Paris and Zürich. Furthermore, nine advisory groups with 48 members from 18 countries have been established, covering all areas of AI, along with the topics of ethical, legal and social implications of AI. CLAIRE’s Research Network consists of over 400 research groups and research institutions, covering jointly more than 24,000 employees in 37 countries. In addition, CLAIRE is in the process of setting up an Innovation Network, in order to foster close links between non-profit research and impactful industrial applications.
The CLAIRE vision for excellence in European AI has received official letters of support from the governments of nine European countries, from over 30 scientific associations across all of Europe, from the European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI, which is the key European association for AI researchers), from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI, the key international association for AI), and from the European Space Agency (ESA). CLAIRE is also actively liaising, on an ongoing basis, with other important organisations, including ELLIS, the HumanE AI consortium, the Big Data Value Association, euRobotics and AI4EU, and cooperates closely with ESA.
A brief history of CLAIRE
CLAIRE was publicly launched on 18 June 2018 with a vision document signed by 600 senior researchers and key stakeholders in artificial intelligence, and the website, inviting stakeholders in artificial intelligence across Europe (and beyond) to sign their support.
Officially incorporated as an international non-profit association according to Belgium law on January 31 2020, CLAIRE has since attracted major media coverage in many European countries and garnered broad support by more than 1000 AI experts (PhD-level expertise in AI or equivalent), more than one hundred fellows of various scientific AI associations, many editors of scientific AI journals, national AI societies, top AI institutes and key stakeholders in industry and other organisations. Moreover, 10 members of EU High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (HLG-AI) are also CLAIRE supporters. The CLAIRE movement works closely with the HLG-AI, providing them with the input of the European AI communities through various mechanisms.
The initiative was prompted in part by a letter of intent, signed by 25 European countries on 10 April 2018, to increase their efforts on strengthening research, innovation and collaboration on AI, a subsequent Communication from the Commission on 25 April with a preliminary AI strategy; it was also inspired by an earlier call for establishing a European laboratory to promote excellence in machine learning, known as ELLIS.
CLAIRE was initiated by Holger Hoos, professor in Machine Learning at Universiteit Leiden (The Netherlands), Morten Irgens, Vice Rector at Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway), and Philipp Slusallek, Scientific Director at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (Germany).
The work behind the CLAIRE movement is currently done primarily by the three initiators, on a voluntary basis, with support from their home institutions. Their work is driven by their passion for unifying the AI community behind a common vision that benefits the people of Europe. CLAIRE is not yet a formally structured organisation. It is a grass-roots, bottom-up movement. A more formal structure of CLAIRE is likely to be developed.
The launch of the CLAIRE headquarters in the Hague (Netherlands) was announced at the 2nd CLAIRE Symposium in Rome, on 26 February 2019, as well as the opening of 3 CLAIRE offices, located in Saarbrücken (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic) and Rome (Italy), followed by offices located in Oslo (Norway), Brussels (Belgium), Zürich (Switzerland), and Paris (France). These offices work closely together and provide administrative and other support for the CLAIRE initiative.
In the initial months of CLAIRE’s existence, Informal Advisory Groups (IAGs) in various fields were formed, to provide a conduit between CLAIRE and the communities within AI (in both directions).
Currently there are 10 IAGs, encompassing a total of 58 members. Each IAG focuses on a different topic, from Machine Learning, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Search and Optimisation, Planning, Multi-Agent Systems, Natural Language Processing to Robotics, Computer Vision and Ethics, Legal, Social Issues.