Collaborative Projects (draft under revision)

Version: April 28, 2022

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, 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 minimum 3 research groups, representing the 2 FARI universities ULB/VUB, and at least 2 Brussels profit/non profit organisations
  • 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
  • Opening of the first call: May 1st, 2022
  • 2 submission steps
    1. Letter of intent: June 30, 2022
    2. Full Proposal: September 15, 2022
  • Announcement of awardees: November 1st, 2022[HC1] 
  • Start grant: January 1st, 2022

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)
  • 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 maximum amount of 200K funding (as the internal distribution model foresees 100K funding per research group for this call) / (iBOF, CHISTERA, …).

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 a dedicated FARI platform (link will come). It should include:
    1. An abstract
      1. The names of the members of the consortium
      1. The name (with a short description) of your chosen non-academic partner(s)
      1. Expected budget
    1. It is followed by an internal validation and selection by Innoviris
  2. The full proposal has then to be submitted for September 15, 2022
    1. NB; Requirements will be communicated
    1. 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: x days 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 of existing grants that researchers could apply to – if they wanted to extend the project.
  • Sub-contracting is possible

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