« An ambitious national program dedicated to research in Artificial Intelligence »
As part of the national strategy to develop artificial intelligence (AI) announced by the French President at the « AI for Humanity » on March 29, 2018, an ambitious national program dedicated to research was launched on November 28, 2018 by the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the Secretary of State in charge of the digital transition.
On that day, the Head of State presented an ambitious strategy to develop artificial intelligence. His strategy was inspired by the report written by the mathematician and deputy Cédric Villani and published on March 28, 2018, which presents proposals aimed at establishing France as a global leader in artificial intelligence.
One of the key measures recommended by the report was to create a network of interdisciplinary institutes of artificial intelligence with three interrelated objectives:
– “To create or recreate attractive and prestigious research institutes identified by the same unique, visible and recognized label with the potential to make significant advances on a global scale.
– To offer high-level scientific training in AI to the researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs of the future.
– To open the lines of communication and collaboration between disciplines and between academic research and the industrial world, leading to the rapid transfer of ideas into proofs of concept (POC), scientific applications, technological advances, and intellectual property, thus creating the network of startups and SMEs on which tomorrow’s industry depends.”
Creation of a network of Interdisciplinary Institutes of Artificial Intelligence
The French government’s purpose in providing more than one billion euros for this program was to create a network between a small number of Interdisciplinary Artificial Intelligence Institutes (3IA).
In July 2018, a call for expressions of interest was issued by the National Research Agency (ANR) inviting applications from research, higher-education, and innovation institutions with a strong scientific, economic, and academic potential.
At the close of a detailed examination of the projects submitted, the international jury in charge of reviewing the applications proposed to the steering committee of the 3IA program to permanently grant the label of 3IA institute to four projects: Grenoble, Nice, Paris and Toulouse.
Four institutes in regions with a high potential in Artificial Intelligence
The 3IAs are developing activities that correspond to the unique features of their business, social and academic environment.
This flexibility allows them to undertake actions focused on local strategic issues in close connection with the companies and research potential of their region.
The 3IA network in figures
A national network of AI research combined with academic chairs
To garner the support of all the French talents in AI and to expand the new national network of 3IAs, a call for “Research and academic chairs in artificial intelligence” was issued by the ANR. It led to the appointment of 43 chairs. Their work will address the key issues of the AI for Humanity plan.
Based outside the 3IA institutes, the AI research and academic chairs contribute to the actions of the national AI research network coordinated by Inria.
"Besides the AI applications we were already working on, the contacts made through the MIAI Institute convinced us to get involved locally with the teams of the University of Grenoble-Alpes in long-term projects focusing on themes such as the partially automatic analysis of standards and regulations, “structured” reinforcement learning, and the systematic assessment of unreliable predictions. The monthly meetings are particularly useful to help us imagine possible applications and the techniques that could be used. We have also appreciated the multi-company brainstorming sessions organized by the chair “AI for data-driven and self-configurable supply chains”. In addition, the short multi-company training courses that started in 2021 are an excellent initiative that could be interesting for us."
"The IA Institute in Grenoble provides an ecosystem of expertise that speeds up our technological watch and confirms our strategic technical choices. MIAI makes it easier to set up collaborative R&D projects and obtain CIFRE grants that develop our R&D activity and increase our credibility in our field. MIAI's leadership position and capacity to spread its know-how is creating a snowball effect and is increasing the region's attractiveness. For us, an SME competing with large foreign companies, this is a strong argument we can use to recruit new talents and retain employees."
"NAVER LABS Europe is extremely committed and active within MIAI. We have taken the responsibility of a chair, where we work in close collaboration with academic partners and in particular INRIA Rhone Alpes, and we also contribute to 3 other chairs. We are also involved in the MIAI steering committee. This strong involvement allows us to move forward more quickly on fundamental AI problems, such as learning over time - how to continue to learn and learn better and better, or learning with very little data - for example to translate texts in rare languages or "unbiased" learning. The community federated in MIAI is rich both in expertise around AI and also in terms of application domains, which also allows us to broaden our thinking in terms of usage and problems encountered beyond our expertise."
"STMicroelectronics is a leader in the semiconductor industry. It produces with excellent energy efficiency the “smart” components and solutions that operate the electronic devices we use every day. This smart technology is found in microcontrollers, and ST provides the tools needed to efficiently develop the AI embedded in all these applications. As a high-tech company, working with MIAI gives us access to partners who are experts in these technologies. It also opens the door to collaborations with world-class laboratories, in particular through Ph.D. projects by providing our R&D with the most advanced data in the field."
"The Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis was pleased to welcome the 3IA Côte d'Azur institute. The city is taking advantage of the presence of highly qualified researchers to launch collaborative projects aimed at experimenting with local data in areas such as healthcare, risk management, urban traffic, or public transportation. The first results we obtained together made us realize how much Artificial Intelligence can contribute to a conurbation such as ours, and how the wealth of information hidden in the data we manage can be used to make our city more "intelligent" for the benefit of our population. We are also delighted to notice how 3IA Côte d'Azur has boosted local companies and given them a thirst for innovations based on Artificial Intelligence."
"The presence of the new 3IA Côte d'Azur institute in our ecosystem has made it possible for several startups to launch collaborative research projects in partnership with researchers from the 3IA laboratories. The collaborations and the technology transfers that grew out of the world-class research carried out in the institute has increased the competitiveness of our young companies and offered them new possibilities of innovation in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We are delighted to see the momentum for innovation that these collaborations with scientific excellence has generated in our ecosystem by broadening the range of possibilities."
"3IA Côte d'Azur label carries a significant importance for the partners of the Industrial Council for Artificial Intelligence research (ICAIR), which represents 14 major industrial international companies present on French Riviera. The label serves as a guarantee of the quality of the AI research eco-system present in the region, which is especially important to our majority of non-French ICAIR members. This recognition, interest and investment from French government illustrate the commitment to AI research in France and helps our members to attract corporate investment in AI, grow AI internal research groups and helps the collaboration with academic partners in the region."
"In a very short time, the PRAIRIE institute was able to bring together highly-qualified researchers in Artificial Intelligence with the support of a wide range of leading companies strongly involved in the transformations that AI can bring. The unique concentration of globally recognized talents combined with the industry sector's open innovation approach has made of PRAIRIE a center for AI excellence and attractiveness unparalleled in France. This is confirmed by the quality of scientific publications and the growing number of companies involved."
For us, PRAIRIE is a source of innovation and knowledge that is helping our teams develop these same capacities. The PRAIRIE teams are focused on fundamental research, but they clearly understand the realities of industrial operations such as ours. I am delighted to be part of this consortium."
For RFence, joining ANITI gave us the opportunity to tackle cutting-edge research themes, such as AI certification which is a crucial aspect in our sector. Our collaboration with ANITI brings us in contact with leading manufacturers and researchers and allows us to be at the cutting edge of science and technology."
ANITI is an incredible opportunity for our engineers at Airbus to learn the most recent Artificial Intelligence methods. In the future, our engineers will be able to work in collaborative mode at the B612 innovation center together with researchers who are academic chair holders in a virtuous cycle of mutual enrichment: we submit industrial problems to researchers who in return enrich their portfolio of methods to solve them. By sharing our research topics and know-how with the other industrial partners of the consortium we strengthen our capacity to define the future standards of certified, acceptable, and collaborative AI, which is the prerequisite for embedding AI technologies in our smart and interconnected fleets of aircraft and satellites."
"From the very start of ANITI, Sopra Steria has become involved to help develop AI solutions for critical systems and to allow its customers to benefit from them as soon as possible. Sopra Steria's participation in ANITI combined with its involvement in Confiance.ai is fully in line with its mission which is to offer acceptable, certifiable and collaborative state-of-the-art scientific and technical AI solutions."