At yesterday’s award ceremony of the German AI Award (Deutscher KI-Preis), which is sponsored by the German daily ‘Die Welt’, members of the Cyber Valley ecosystem were honored for the second year running.
With prize money totaling 100,000 euros, the 2021 AI Innovation Prize went to the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), which was co-initiated by scientists from the Tübingen AI Center and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in April 2018 as the first European Network of Excellence in artificial intelligence (AI). The ELLIS mission is to create a diverse European network that promotes research excellence and advances breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), as well as a pan-European PhD program to educate the next generation of AI researchers. ELLIS also aims to boost economic growth in Europe by leveraging AI technologies. For this purpose, it aims to create agile research institutions inspired by the Vector institute and EMBL. The initiative shares the prize with the Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe.
“We are honored to receive the shared German AI Prize for ELLIS,” said Nuria Oliver, co-founder and vice-president of ELLIS, in accepting the award. A multiple award-winning scientist, Oliver also co-founded the ELLIS Unit in Alicante, which focuses on research in the area of human-centric artificial intelligence. “From the moment we founded ELLIS in April 2018, our goal was to establish the best possible conditions for research and innovation in European AI. Our grassroots initiative aims to attract and retain the world’s best talent, intensify cross-border collaboration between Europe’s best research institutions, and build partnerships between academia and the private sector. We’ve made great progress in the last three years, and this prize is an important acknowledgement and recognition of our contributions,” said Oliver.
In the AI User category, the prize was awarded to the AI start-up Aleph Alpha GmbH, a member of the Cyber Valley Start-Up Network. Headquartered in Heidelberg, the company researches and develops AI models for language and image data, as well as for strategies aiming to secure Europe’s digital sovereignty. “We see the German AI User Award not only as an acknowledgement of our work: it also encourages us to be even more determined in our efforts to help secure Europe’s position in the global AI landscape, which is driven by large AI models,” said Jonas Andrulis, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aleph Alpha.
Established in 2018, the annual German AI Prize honors outstanding contributions in research and development, as well as achievements and progress in the application and commercialization of AI. The prize winners are selected by an international jury comprising prominent personalities from science, research, and the private sector. In 2020, the AI Innovation Prize was awarded to Bernhard Schölkopf, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, co-founder of Cyber Valley, and co-founder of ELLIS. This year, the jury was chaired by the German entrepreneur Chris Boos, founder of the AI company Arago, Chief Technical Officer of the Swiss cybersecurity company Wisekey, and a leading global visionary in the field of artificial intelligence.