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Eindhoven tech consortium announces new AI Innovation Center at High Tech Campus

(Editor’s note: The AI Center announcement also included a virtual event/news conference at High Tech Campus’ Conference Center, and we’ll have more details in the next Eindhoven Business Briefing.)

Jan-Willem Neggers

A consortium of Dutch tech giants is creating a new innovation center with the goal of turning Eindhoven into a major force in AI development. High Tech Campus Eindhoven is joining forces with Dutch electronics and semiconductor multinationals Philips, based in Amsterdam, and Eindhoven-based ASML, NXP and Signify in a new partnership “to drive the application of artificial intelligence technologies by companies and organizations in the Brainport Eindhoven region,” according to a news release.

To achieve their goals, the partners are establishing the AI Innovation Center, a 1,100 square meter (11,840 square foot) facility which will bring together all relevant partners in the ecosystem. The projected opening will be March 2021, according to High Tech Campus executives at the news conference and AI masterclass led by Emile Aarts, professor of Computer Science at Tilburg University.

“It’s common sense that artificial intelligence is a game-changer for both industry and society, ” stated Jan-Willem Neggers, managing director of High Tech Campus Eindhoven, in the release. “We feel the urgency to create an environment where we help companies and organizations to apply this technology in their businesses, innovations and processes.

“The extent to which companies are able to apply this technology will define their impact in the future.”

With the support of Philips, ASML, NXP and Signify, High Tech Campus has refined a plan to build the ecosystem.

From left, event moderator Bart Brouwers, Innovation Origins, Sebastiaan Laurijsse, NXP and Paul van Son, High Tech Campus at the AI Center announcement.

An incubator for AI projects and startups

HTC is creating an incubator for AI applications and projects, offering a co-working environment for project execution and “soft landing” space for AI startups. The AI Innovation Center will be located in the heart of the Campus, on the ground floor of building HTC5.

“We are going to turn this space into a combination of social and events space, inspiration areas, projects and working space,” said Paul van Son, HTC innovation manager and initiator of the AI Innovation Center. “As soon as Covid-19 measures are loosened, we can physically start. In the meantime, all events and sessions will start online.”

The new center will give easy access to the campus ecosystem, van Son said. It will host regular open events from more technical topics for data scientists and AI engineers to topics such as ethics, legal issues and the human factor in respect to AI.

These events are just the start. In the next phase, the AI center will host design workshops with specialized partners to help organizations to
define their own use cases, van Son said.

AI for good

In the center programming, there will be special attention for projects and events that contribute to social and environmental goals: AI for Good. “As HTCE, we have big ambitions in sustainability. We want to become the most sustainable campus in the world by 2025, and we invest in impact-driven venture building programs like HighTechXL and LUMO Labs,” van Son said.

AI is a technology with “amazing potential” to contribute to solving global challenges,” he added. “Young people in data science and AI have an enormous drive to use their skills for the greater good. We really have an opportunity as a region to differentiate ourselves on this topic.”

This initiative comes out of a HTC research project of HTCE, part of the campus’ Vision 2030 plan.

HTC’s research showed that more than 70 percent of the companies on Campus see AI as the most important technology to focus on during the next five years. So, the AI Innovation Center will be an open platform for all parties who want to contribute to the AI effort. “Everybody is welcome to come up with new ideas and initiatives; of course that’s not limited to companies on HTCE,” van Son said.

Everyone feels the urgency to put the Brabant region on the map in the field of AI “at the same level as where we are already in high tech systems,” he said.

The is the third major initiative announced for the campus in the past two years. In 2018, campus executives announced the largest startup hub in the Netherlands, with three buildings and more than 10,000 meters square of offices and labs.

In 2019, the campus announced the creation of a 5G hub.

You can read more here about Eindhoven’s tech ecosystem.

About High Tech Campus Eindhoven:

High Tech Campus Eindhoven is the largest research campus in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe with more than 220 companies and institutes, and about 12,000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs.

Global companies on the campus include Philips, NXP, TomTom, Shimano, Signify, Teledyne Dalsa, IBM and Intel. Major startups and scale-ups include Bambi Medical, Plasmacure, Incooling, Luxexcel and SMART Photonics, and there are two venture builders – HighTechXL and LUMO Labs.

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