Picture from Unsplash by @pawel_czerwinski and logo from Morten Irgens’ blog.

Why We need to Talk About the European Association for AI, Data and Robotics

Engaging broadly with civil society, research community and industry to make artificial intelligence work for public good

Adra, which is an acronym for “AI, data and robotics Association”, is an international non-profit association incorporated in Brussels as an Association Sans But Lucratif (asbl).

The partnership between Adra and the Commission is regulated by a memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Illustration by Morten Irgens.
  1. The AI, Data and Robotics Association (ADRA) has been established between The Big Data Value Association, euRobotics, and the three AI associations CLAIRE, ELLIS and EurAI. These are some of the largest organisations active in the field of AI in Europe bringing together a wide range of partners.
  2. ADRA thus engages broadly with civil society, research community and industry. This approach to collaboration might be important to help AI work for public good — building a shared effort in the field.
  3. The collaboration clear that environmental aspects is considered as part of the vision, as such at the front and center of this partnership. According to the ADRA website: “The Vision of the Partnership is to boost European competitiveness, societal wellbeing and environmental aspects to lead the world in researching, developing and deploying value-driven trustworthy AI, Data and Robotics based on fundamental European rights, principles and values.”
  4. ADRA is one of the most comprehensive collaborations on AI in the world and is set to leverage €2.6 Billion in funding. €1.3B of public investments through the Horizon Europe programme and €1.3B of private investments in the period 2021–2030 to address the key challenges in European AI, Data and Robotics.

Understanding ADRA

How was ADRA founded?

Although ADRA was formally founded May 21st 2021 it has been in discussion for a while. The last year (2020–2021) has seen a growing amount of applications of AI around the world and in Europe it is clear that this must be explored from a perspective that is aligned with more inclusive perspectives from civil society.

“The board is equally split between academia and industry. There is also a tripartition between interests from AI, data and robotics. The founding partners are CLAIRE, BDVA, euRobotics, ELLIS and EurAI. The negotiations between the founding partners ran from around January 2020 until May of 2021. In the process, the partners produced a ‘Strategic Research, Innovation and Deployment Agenda’. ”

ADRA may be part of the answer in the question of how civil society, research communities and industry can be involved in shaping AI in Europe.

How is ADRA structured?

ADRA currently consist of five partners:

  1. Confederation of Laboratories of Artificial Intelligence in Europe (CLAIRE),
  2. Big Data Value Association (BDVA),
  3. The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS),
  4. The European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI),
  5. The European Robotics Association (euRobotics).
ADRA Logo from Morten Irgens blog post.

How does ADRA fit with the EU Commission’s partnership instruments?

The European Commission has been investing heavily in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). What is a PPP?

Public private partnerships

The European Expertise Centre (EPEC) says the following:

Why is this important for Europe?

According to Irgens in his blog post:

  1. are a key implementation tool of Horizon Europe
  2. bring the Commission and private and/or public partners together
  3. pool resources to gather critical mass
  4. share financial, human and infrastructure resources
  5. provide concerted research and innovation initiatives.
  6. address some of Europe’s most pressing challenges
  7. contribute significantly to achieving the EU’s political priorities.
  8. reduce duplication of investments
  9. make research and innovation funding across the EU more efficient;
  10. enable innovative technologies to get faster to the market;

What will ADRA do?

The operational objectives are the following:

  1. Accelerate uptake by industry in all relevant sectors;
  2. Lead and support excellent research raising the state-of-the-art around AI, Data and Robotics;
  3. Support initiatives addressing Use Cases in AI, Data and Robotics;
  4. Promote collaborative working with other horizontal and vertical communities and Partnerships;
  5. Develop and implement mechanisms to create an effective & accessible ecosystem (incl. innovation infrastructure);
  6. Support initiatives that engage and stimulate SMEs and Start-ups;
  7. Work towards aligning legal frameworks, standards & regulation;
  8. Support initiatives that foster AI Skill building;

What are your thoughts about ADRA? Have you seen anything similar in other regions? How can ADRA proceed forward?

If you want to find out more about the partnership yourself and keep updated on the news you might want to have a look at this website:

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Alex Moltzau

AI Policy, Governance, Ethics and International Partnerships at www.nora.ai. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau