The Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht Universities of Applied Sciences have received a SPRONG grant from Regieorgaan-SIA, with which they – together with 24 partners from the field – can build an infrastructure for a powerful research group. A group that is regionally and nationally recognized as the centre for practice-based research in the field of Responsible Applied AI. ECDA is involved as a network partner and will co-organize workshops and events with the involved partners, share expertise and enable a wider application and use of products developed in the context of the programme.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is developing rapidly with far-reaching consequences for the whole of society (all sectors, professions and citizens). Although AI offers new opportunities for institutions and (SME) companies, there are also many questions. 

For example, there is a demand for research methods to meaningfully implement AI technology in a specific context (e.g. retail and care), taking into account the user and other stakeholders. There are also questions about the design process of AI solutions: how can you take ethical and social issues into account? 

Methodology for Responsible Applied AI

Current AI research is mostly fundamental and focused on technology. As such, it hardly provides answers to the questions mentioned above. The three universities of applied sciences in the SPRONG group conduct practice-oriented research into responsible AI solutions for companies and institutions. With these research experiences and results, the SPRONG group aims to develop a Responsible Applied AI methodology that helps to design, develop and implement responsible AI solutions. 

Co-Creation in Hybrid Learning Environments 

To develop this methodology, knowledge building and sharing are needed, which the universities of applied sciences develop together with companies and organisations. The starting point of the project is the development of three hybrid learning environments around the application areas of retail, business services and media. AI developers, problem owners, end-users, researchers and students work together in these environments. 

The goal is to develop practical tools, instruments, education and training from the learning environment that can be widely used for the application of AI in the relevant sector. Each learning environment is linked to specific courses of the participating universities and practical partners who contribute to the programme. During the SPRONG programme, the number of application areas will be expanded and, where possible, scaled up nationally. 

Supporting Infrastructure

A central supporting infrastructure will be developed, including processes and facilities for data management and strategic human resource management, an IT infrastructure, training courses and an impact model. 

In addition, there is close cooperation with and within the regional AI Hubs, namely: AI Technology for People (the Amsterdam AI hub), AI hub Midden-Nederland and AI hub Zuid-Holland.