Virtual Center of Excellence ELSA

10 million euros of funding for the new virtual center of excellence


A large network of top European experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is to promote the development and deployment of cutting-edge AI solutions in the future and make Europe the world's lighthouse of secure and safe AI. The EU is funding the project with around 7.5 million euros, with a further 2.5 million euros coming from the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

The "European Lighthouse on Secure and Safe AI" (ELSA) project networks excellent researchers from 26 top research institutions and companies in Europe to pool their expertise in the field of AI and machine learning. The growing network builds upon the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) and is coordinated by the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security in Saarbrücken which is member of the ELLIS Unit Saarbrücken.

"Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve all our lives enormously - be it through better healthcare or completely new possibilities for mobility. But a blessing can quickly turn into a curse if the technology is not based on a secure foundation. I see enormous potential in bringing together Europe's top researchers through ELSA so that we can face the great challenges of AI and machine learning together. I am sure we can make a lot of difference together," says Mario Fritz, faculty at CISPA.

The new virtual center of excellence will focus on the further development of machine learning methods, in particular so-called deep learning, as these methods form the basis for most modern AI applications. The initial three-year project will focus on developing robust technical approaches that are compatible with legal and ethical principles. At the same time, the network of excellence aims to create the necessary structures to promote the development and use of AI technology and to break down barriers.


The ELSA consortium consists of the following research institutions and companies:

CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security
University of Helsinki
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Computer Vision Center
Italian Institute of Technology
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
National Interuniversity Consortium for Informatics
University of Cagliari
University of Genoa
University of Milano
Polytechnic University of Turin
Max Planck Society
National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Pluribus One
PAL Robotics
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
ETH Zurich
University of Oxford
Lancaster University
University of Birmingham
The Alan Turing Institute

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