CLAIRE 12 months in

Precisely 12 months ago, CLAIRE was launched officially, with an ambitious vision supported by 600 experts and stakeholders, and with major media coverage in the Netherlands and Germany. Shortly thereafter, CLAIRE had attracted more than 1000 individual supporters, along with media coverage in many European countries.

Today, CLAIRE has over 3000 individual supporters, as well as one of the world’s largest research networks in AI, with 284 member groups and institutions, covering jointly over 16000 employees in 33 countries. CLAIRE has also received official letters of support from the governments of five European countries, from practically all European AI associations, from EurAI, from ESA and from the AAAI.

With administrative offices in The Hague, Saarbrücken, Prague and Rome, and additional offices to open in the near future in Oslo, Paris and Zürich, CLAIRE operates across all of Europe. Within CLAIRE, 9 Informal Advisory Groups IAGS with 48 members from 18 countries cover all areas of AI, along with ethical, legal and social implications.

CLAIRE is providing input to the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI, and is liaising, on an ongoing basis, with other important organisations, including ELLIS, the HumanE AI consortium, the Big Data Value Association, euRobotics and AI4EU, as well as ESA. As recently communicated, CLAIRE also is actively coordinating community efforts in the context of the forthcoming EU ICT-48-2020 call “Towards a vibrant European network of AI excellence centres”.

Today, we are excited to announce four major developments that we expect to help us very substantially towards realising the bold vision of CLAIRE for European excellence in AI.

1) We are about to connect our research network, our supporters and other stakeholders in the European AI community by making available a communications platform based on Zulip. Initially, this will be hosted by Zulip, with the intention for CLAIRE to take over the hosting, on a server based in Europe, before the end of 2019. We are currently in the process of advanced internal testing and expect to gradually roll out the service to the CLAIRE research network, to all CLAIRE supporters and finally, to other stakeholders in the European AI ecosystem – this is part of CLAIRE’s efforts to help AI researchers and stakeholders in Europe communicate and collaborate effectively.

2) We are in the process of building an industry network, covering all sectors and companies ranging from large global players to startups, to complement our extensive research network. This is in line with CLAIRE’s commitment to foster close links between foundational, non-profit research in AI and impactful industrial applications. We expect to announce the initial industry network this summer, linking it to our research network via the Zulip-based communications platform and a series of theme development workshops.

3) ESA and CLAIRE are delighted to announce the formation of the World’s first AI Special Interest Group on Space. This Special Interest Group will help accelerate collaboration between these disciplines to generate new AI, space science, operations and engineering solutions, and to accelerate the adoption of AI in Europe’s space sector in general and the Earth observation sector in particular. See the press release here.

4) CLAIRE is now at the point where the informal organisation that has served us well so far (an overview of which can be found here) needs to transition into a non-profit legal entity. This will be done using an inclusive and transparent process that will be outlined in a separate message and provide ample opportunity for anyone who’d like to be involved to give input. The goal is to create an organisation that is well-positioned to operate on a stable, ongoing basis and to receive major funding to achieve its ambitious goals for excellence in AI within Europe and beyond.

It is amazing how far we have come within 12 months, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters who contributed to the success of CLAIRE so far. We are convinced that the next 12 months will be even more amazing!