Flanders AI Impulse Program

The Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation in Flanders has made 32 million euros per year available for the Flanders AI Impulse program ensuring Flanders’ leadership and attractiveness for future investments in AI technology and applications by focusing on selected AI disciplines that are strategically important for Flanders and in which Flanders has internationally recognized leadership.

The Flanders AI Impulse program is centred around three pillars:

  1. The Flanders AI Research Program: Strategic Basic Research (12 million euros)
  2. The Flanders AI Implementation Program: Technology Transfer and Industrial Applications (15 million euros)
  3. Flanders AI Supporting activities (ethics, education and training) (5 million euros)

The Flanders AI Research Program started in July 2019.

Flanders AI Research Program

Challenge-based research with demand-driven impact

The program focuses on domains of strategic importance in Flanders that have a large market potential for which Flanders can be uniquely positioned as early adopters.

For the coming years, the program will focus on use cases within three application domains: Healthcare, Industry 4.0, and Government & Citizens.

Review of the strategic needs of Flanders in the coming years, might lead to the addition of or shift to new domains, using AI for the challenges in society such as climate, mobility, the aging of people.

The analysis of the needs in the focus domains has led to defining the four research themes or research challenges the program will focus on.

AI-Driven Data Science, AI In The Edge, Multi-agent Collaborative AI, Human-Like AI

For each of the above domains and research challenges, concrete proofs-of-concepts will be developed as demonstrators of the match of the research results with the needs from the application domains.

Validation of this challenge-based research with demand-driven impact will be done by the Flemish industry and an International Advisory Board.  While the focus in the coming years is on the above-mentioned domains, the results will be more widely applicable in other domains as well.  It is the aim that the demonstrators or proofs-of-concepts serve as the entry point for the Technology Transfer and Industrial Application pillar of the AI impulse program, in which companies can tailor the results of the research to towards their specific needs.

The research program builds on existing strengths in Flanders: the Flemish government wants to further develop the current centers demonstrating excellent AI research. The partners in the AI research program are 5 Flemish universities (KU Leuven, UGent, VUBrussel, UAntwerpen, UHasselt), the four strategic research centers (imec, VIB, VITO, Flanders Make) and Sirris. Agoria and VOKA support the program and facilitate the interaction with the Flemish Industry.