Brussels Symposium 2018

The development of AI strategies in Europe has accelerated, and the European Commission will formulate its strategy this autumn. The CLAIRE initiative intends to provide guidance to this process and, to this end, organised a symposium that brought together top AI researchers, experts and policy makers to discuss and further develop the main components of a Confederation of Laboratories for AI Research in Europe (CLAIRE).

Date:  Friday 7 September 2018
Time:  9:30 – 18:00 (lunch included), followed by a reception at 18:00 and dinner at 20:00.
Location:  Norway House, Rue Archimède 17, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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Attendance at the Symposium was free of charge, and lunch and dinner on the day of the event was provided; however, we did not cover travel and accommodation expenses.

See the list of participants here


Registration (9:30 – 10:00)

Part 1 – Introduction and status (10:00 – 11:15)

  • Welcome message, Morten Irgens (Vice Rector of Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway)
  • Opening, Ambassador Oda Helen Sletnes (Ambassador of Norway to the European Union)
  • “Welcome from EurAI”, Barry O’Sullivan (President of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence)
  • Artificial Intelligence for Europe“, Juha Heikkilä (Head of Unit, Robotics & Artificial Intelligence, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission)
  • “National support actions for AI research in France”, François Sillion (Coordinator of the French AI research program)
  • Introduction to CLAIRE and the symposium“, Holger Hoos (Professor of Machine Learning at Leiden University, The Netherlands)

Coffee break (30 min)

Part 2 – Breakout session 1: Towards a detailed, unified plan (11:45 – 13:00)

Chair, Philipp Slusallek (Scientific Director at German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence)

Lunch (1h30)

Part 3 – Breakout session 2: Work on specific topics (14:30 – 15:30)

Chair, Holger Hoos (Professor of Machine Learning at Leiden University, The Netherlands)

  • Form groups to work on topics identified in Breakout session 1
  • Breakout session: Propose one or more solutions per identified topic

Coffee break (30 min)

Part 4 – Breakout session 3: Work on specific topics (16:00 – 17:00)

Chair, Holger Hoos (Professor of Machine Learning at Leiden University, The Netherlands)

  • Present and discuss results from Breakout session 2
  • Broadly agreed upon solutions to identified topics

Part 5 – The path forward – next steps (17:00- 18:00)

Chair, Morten Irgens(Vice Rector of Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway)

  • Presentation of solutions to identified topics
  • Discussion of ideas for concrete steps forwards
  • Brief wrap-up

Reception (18:00 – 19:00)

Dinner (20:00)


  • Arvato CRM Solutions
  • Norwegian Research Council
  • Norwegian Mission to the EU
  • European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI)
  • The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)
  • Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet)
  • Leiden University

Responses from Participants

Yesterday was so great. So wonderfully great. Finally, the European AI community is uniting; finally, we are taking our fate into our own hands. And the future of AI in Europe is going to be better for it.

Aske Plaat, Professor & Scientific Director at the Department of Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science (LIACS), Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Friday’s CLAIRE symposium was an excellent example of how the European AI community can begin to work together towards a large strategic concept. The broad AI ecosystem in Europe needs to be far more integrated, and CLAIRE is very much a step in the right direction.

Professor Barry O’Sullivan, President of the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EurAI) and Professor at University College Cork, Ireland.

The problem for AI in Europe is not the money, it is finding talent. To achieve great things, we need a bold vision. We need to dream big or stay home.

Holger Hoos, AAAI Fellow, Professor of Machine Learning, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

A lot of good ideas came out of the symposium, and we are definitely keen on pushing CLAIRE forward.

Luc De Raedt, EurAI Fellow, ERC Advanced Grant, KU Leuven, Belgium.

A lot of good ideas came out of the symposium, and we are definitely keen on pushing CLAIRE forward.

Hendrik Blockeel, EurAI fellow, professor of machine learning & vice-chair of Department of Computer Science at KU Leuven, Belgium.

The French government has presented a strategy for AI that covers many aspects, ranging from long-term research to dissemination in the economy, talent training and explicit consideration of societal impact and ethical issues. This strategy also clearly identifies the absolute need for tight coordination and cooperation at the European level, in order to have a global impact, as emphasised, for example, by the CLAIRE initiative. It is therefore very timely and welcome that the relevant scientific communities work together, with governments and with the European Commission, to ensure that all efforts are well coordinated towards the best chances for European excellence in artificial intelligence.

François Sillion, Coordinator of the French AI research program, France

For more information contact CLAIRE.