IMPORTANT: Please find the template for the full proposal, it is due by November 31. Innoviris invites you to contact your TTO if you have any questions (as they know this template). To access this template: 

FARI is an independent, non-for-profit Artificial Intelligence initiative created by the two leading universities in Brussels: the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). This unique organization aims at helping citizens, politicians, public, private and non-for-profit organizations to address local, everyday, or long-term problem – insofar as AI can contribute. It brings together world-leading and future researchers.

1.     Objective

FARI wants to create collaborative AI, Robotics, and Data research with non-academic partners from Brussels (e.g. NGOs specifically, and/or for-profit entities). These projects should target priority areas from the Regional Innovation Plan of Brussels Capital Region:

  • Climate & Energy
  • Resource Optimization
  • Mobility
  • Health & Well-being
  • Participatory & inclusive Society

This call is organized jointly with Innoviris – experienced in setting up collaborations between regional entities and research organizations.

2.     Conditions

  • Total amount of 1 million euros, allowing 2 up to 4 collaborative projects (larger-scale projects should be favored)
  • The collaborative projects can address technical, legal, social, and ethical challenges that:
    • The Brussels Capital Region is directly facing
    • Entities from Brussels are facing or would like to tackle.
  • The projects can be primarily of technical nature or of non-technical nature (ideally both).
  • They need to include researchers from at least two different disciplines (e.g. social sciences and robotics).
  • They need to involve a Brussels organization and should ideally target a key question for the Brussels Capital Region.
  • They are required to include a minimum of two research groups of FARI (one from each university).
  • This call targets new projects, that cannot be already funded elsewhere.
  • There is a consortium of a minimum 3 research groups, representing the 2 FARI universities ULB/VUB, and at least 1 Brussels profit/non profit organisation.
  • Please note that external entities cannot get direct funding from this.

3.     Calendar

  • FARI will open two calls in total (one in 2022, one in 2023)
  • Period: maximum 2 years non-renewable
  • 2 submission steps for the opening of the first call:

    1. Letter of intent: June 30, 2022 (UPDATE: Deadline extended to JULY 8!!)
    2. Full Proposal: September 15, 2022
  • Announcement of awardees: end of November 2022[HC1]
  • Start grant: January 1st, 2023

4.     Amount, Duration, and terms of payment

  • Total amount: €1,155 Million.
  • Payment of research groups will be funded by Innoviris directly (and pre-financed by universities as per usual).
  • Organisations will not receive funding.
  • Payment and sub-contracting of external parties will be handled by Innoviris directly

5.     Submission and selection procedure

Per call, each FARI Research group can only participate in one or more proposals for a maximum amount of 200K funding (as the internal distribution model foresees 100K funding per research group for this call).

A two-step approach is foreseen: in the submission & approval procedure:

  1. The letter of intent for June 30, 2022 has to be submitted on this FARI dedicated platform. (UPDATE: Deadline extended to JULY 8!!)
    1. An abstract
      • The names of the members of the consortium
      • The name (with a short description) of your chosen non-academic partner(s)
      • Expected budget
    2. It is followed by an internal validation and selection by Innoviris
  2. The full proposal has then to be submitted on September 15, 2022
    1. NB; Requirements will be communicated
    2. An external jury will be selected (and include academic experts, representatives of the Brussels Capital Region, and Innoviris)

Projects must pay keen attention to the relevant legal framework, notably the Data Protection Impact Assessment and the requirement of Data Protection by Design and Default, based on the involvement of research groups on the legal side. Beyond this, it is expected of projects to contribute to the principles for trustworthy AI of the HLEG edicted by the European Commission, taking note of the way they have been integrated into the proposed AI Act.

  • Human agency and oversight
  • Technical robustness and safety
  • Privacy and data governance
  • Transparency
  • Diversity, non-discrimination, and fairness
  • Societal and environmental well-being
  • Accountability

Finally, each project will have to identify potential sustainability and social risks the project could generate or reinforce.

  • Additional information
    • Prior to the beginning of the projects, a valorization strategy will be done with the Technology Transfer Offices of the Universities: so a pre-notification procedure with ULB/VUB TTI needs to be in place prior to the deadline of the full proposal submission.
    • Each awarded project will receive a separate contract agreement with the parties involved (so between Innoviris, ULB / VUB Universities, and organizations when applicable). This contract template will be foreseen by Innoviris. Intellectual property and financial arrangements will be described in this.
    • Innoviris will provide information on existing grants that researchers could apply for – if they wanted to extend the project.
    • Sub-contracting is possible.
    • FARI is committed to fostering excellence in research and research training and is focused on the common good. So, research in FARI must be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive to produce the excellence, innovation, and impact needed to seize opportunities and address local and global challenges. All individuals and research groups accepting funding will be expected to make a concerted effort to integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) objectives into research initiatives and to provide a supportive and inclusive work environment.

To be decided based on the submission & selection criteria / how organisations will be involved (or not): also from a subsidy/funding perspective [HC1]