AI building set to be hotspot for regional collaboration

In three years’ time, the TU Delft campus will have another new building in which all innovation activities in the field of AI converge. This will be a vibrant place with international appeal, where students, academics, start-ups, SMEs and large companies will work together on new AI applications. This new initiative is the missing link in the AI ecosystem, writes Paul Althuis, Director of the TU Delft Innovation & Impact Centre.

“The world of AI is virtual and almost everything takes place beyond our sight, on powerful computers, in the cloud and in high-speed networks. However, these digital developments will have a major impact on the physical world around us. AI is important for the future of the industry in our region. Think of smart applications in the port area in Rotterdam, of mobility and healthcare.

At TU Delft, we work together with public partners, companies and regional knowledge institutions (Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University) on digital innovations that can contribute to solutions for the major challenges of our time. Because of this collaboration, it is important that there is a physical place where all developments in the field of AI, data and digitalisation come together.

 

Co creation


It’s quite simple: in 2021, co-creation plays a crucial role in innovation. This is particularly true in complex deep tech, such as AI. This cross-fertilisation between science, the business community and government does not happen automatically – it needs to be organised. In a building that acts as enabler of innovation.

With regard to AI, TU Delft serves as a focal point for the region. TU Delft has the largest community of AI scientists, is in the process of setting up 24 AI labs (of which 16 are already established) and is working to ensure that AI becomes part of every degree programme. This is a superb springboard position for TU Delft to make an impact and stand out: as a university of technology, we can use the content of our engineering areas of application in AI.

There is a genuine need out there and the new building will help to unleash this demand much more easily, which we can then link to what we have to offer. It will become the hotspot for regional collaboration in AI.

Missing link

This ‘House of AI’ forms the missing link in our innovation strategy. In order to develop spin-offs, generate contacts with the business community and secure public-private investments, a place where people can meet up and collaborate on new innovations is essential.

We already know from existing field labs that they are excellent places for businesses to become acquainted with new technology. There is a genuine need out there and the new building will help to unleash this demand much more easily, which we can then link to what we have to offer. It will become the hotspot for regional collaboration in AI.”

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