Inria coordinator of the research side of the AI for Humanity Plan
To make France a global leader in artificial intelligence, while reconciling ‘performance and humanity’: that was the ambitious goal set by the French President in March. The AI for Humanity strategy, developed on the basis of the report prepared by French Deputy Cédric Villani, relies extensively on research and innovation to spearhead the development of AI. Inria will be coordinator of the research side of the plan.
In the Villani report, in order to galvanize the existing ecosystem in this area, Inria is given the task of coordinating a national programme that will involve establishing a symbolic network of AI research institutes within universities, known as 3IA institutes. Alongside the establishment of the 3IA institutes, the entire French artificial intelligence ecosystem will be strengthened. On Wednesday 29 November, a plan was unveiled by Frédérique Vidal, Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital.
As announced in March, responsibility for coordinating the national AI for Humanity programme has been given to Inria, with a clear objective: to strengthen the entire French AI sector. The programme will rely in particular on the network of 3IA institutes, for which a shortlist of four projects has just been announced: projects at sites in Grenoble (MIAI@Grenoble- Alpes), Nice (3IA Côte d’Azur), Paris (PRAIRIE) and Toulouse (ANITI).
Inria is fully committed to its role as coordinator for the national AI plan, which should strengthen the entire AI ecosystem in France.
Bruno Sportisse, CEO and Chairman of Inria
To make a success of its coordination role, Inria will set up a dedicated programme management team, a strategic committee on which the relevant national research operators will be represented, and an international monitoring team, separate from its own research activity. Inria will report annually on its coordination activities to the ministerial steering committee for the national AI plan.
Inria will be responsible for:
- Proposing and coordinating the implementation, by the operators involved, of sustained action in the context of the programme
- Providing scientific and technological expertise to benefit the various actions of the national AI strategy
- Leading and coordinating the ‘3IA’ network and, more generally, leading the national AI research ecosystem
- Taking part in the development of bilateral cooperation initiatives, particularly with Germany and with other European and international partners
- Bolstering the economic impact of public research, particularly through creation of and support for technology startups
Support for the 3IA institutes and the French AI ecosystem
In the context of the national artificial intelligence (AI) programme, the government has decided to support the establishment of a small network of interdisciplinary artificial intelligence institutes (3IAs) to work with the entire French AI sector.
Four projects have been shortlisted. They will have until the end of January to submit a detailed project proposal, to be examined by an international jury panel, with the aim of obtaining confirmed 3IA status. Each of the proposed institutes will receive from the ANR the maximum grant provided by the government from €100 million in earmarked funds, through the PIA3 priority research programme and the MESRI budget. With the cofunding provided by public establishments and industrial partners, the total budget for the programme will come to €300 million.
These institutes will work on health, transport (self-driving cars), energy and safety.
350 chairs will be created and with them, 300 doctoral posts. To meet the specific computation needs of artificial intelligence, part of the 10 petaflop supercomputer delivered to GENCI last year will be dedicated to the programme, with more than 1000 GPU processors.
Besides the 3IA institutes, the whole French AI ecosystem will be supported through various initiatives: support for 40 chairs at non-3IA institutes, doubling of the number of AI doctorates, boosting of education and training initiatives, Plan DeepTech led by the BPI to increase the creation of technology startups resulting from public research, a target of 50 Labcoms (joint laboratories run with SMEs, supported by the ANR), etc.