AI initiatives in Germany: the status quo in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg

by | 15 June 2021 | Basics

A few years ago reserved primarily for internet and e-commerce corporations, artificial intelligence (AI) is now making its way into almost all industries and also small and medium-sized enterprises. Through "Business AI", new business models can be developed and existing processes can be made even more effective in order to maintain the long-term competitiveness of companies. This phase is also referred to as AI 2.0 defined - here we explain what characterises the next stage of AI development and which technologies are in focus. 

In the meantime, it is not only companies that are committed to the development of AI solutions, politicians are also increasingly focusing on the topic - after all, it is about Germany's long-term attractiveness as a business location.  

In our blog series, we would like to give an overview of which initiatives the individual federal states are supporting AI development with and how far they have progressed in a national comparison. This article first looks at the federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. 

National overview of AI initiatives

Those who are generally interested in a Germany-wide overview on the topic of AI should take a look at the AI map of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on the platform learning systems. This was initiated in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and shows all applications and development projects in which AI technologies are or will be used - in a wide variety of sectors, company sizes and areas of application. The map can be filtered according to all these criteria, and there is also a summary for each federal state that shows the respective development status at a glance. 

Bavaria as an AI location

Politics

In Bavaria, especially the Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs is focusing on the topic of AI. As part of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria, 360 million euros are to be invested in AI. Various measures are intended to drive research in this field, ensure better knowledge transfer and attract top talent.  

For example, new institutes such as the "Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence" (MSRM) as an integrative research centre and the Bavarian AI Agency were established to promote the development and application of AI.  

The programme AI Transfer+ is aimed at SMEs and would like to promote knowledge transfer here as well by providing companies with experts at their side in AI regional centres. These support companies in developing AI strategies and implementing their own projects. The programme was launched by Bavarian Digital Minister Judith Gerlach in cooperation with the appliedAI initiative of the UnternehmerTUM start-up and innovation centre. Initially, it will be implemented as part of a one-year model project at the OTH Regensburg and later expanded. 

Economy 

The Bavarian regional group of the KI Bundesverband, led by Lucas Spreiter, founder of Unetiq GmbH, and our CEO Alexander Thamm, is one of the strongest and most active in Germany.  

The KI-Bundesverbandwhose co-founder and chairman is our CPO and partner Jörg Bienert, is committed to strengthening Germany as an AI location. To this end, the country's digital sovereignty (based on European values) is to be ensured, the exchange of experts promoted and innovative power awakened in companies. The association currently consists of more than 300 members from SMEs and start-ups as well as experts.  

Education

Within the framework of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria 50 new AI professorships which universities could apply for via a competition until February 2020. The winners cover all areas from intelligent robotics to mobility, health and data science. Due to the high response, the 50 more chairs which are to be awarded in spring 2022. In total, 600 million euros will be invested in the education sector.

Baden-Württemberg as an AI hub

Politics

In a Strategy paper the state government presented the digital@bw digitisation strategy - the aim is to further develop the Baden-Württemberg AI ecosystem with all its existing resources (e.g. the Cyber Valley), to recruit new talent and also to take ethical aspects into account.  

Within the framework of the "AI made in BW", 19 regional AI labs are already helping companies to further expand their AI offerings. In the future, there will also be an SME centre in Cyber Valley to provide support. In addition, business-oriented research projects and several competitions ensure that AI development in Baden-Württemberg flourishes.  

For example, the "Innovation Competition AI" is entering its third round with funding of around eight million euros. The competition was launched by the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Housing and this time is primarily aimed at small and micro enterprises and the promotion of their experimental development. 

In addition to the Cyber Valley, a AI Innovation Park The aim is to attract nationally and internationally established companies, start-ups, research players, specialists, talents and investors. 

Economy

The AI Foundation "KI Garage" promotes students, scientists and founders in Baden-Württemberg - it sees itself as an open platform for calls for applications. Some of these offers are also aimed at young people to introduce them to the topic of AI. The network of scientists, speakers, founders, start-up promoters, employees and investors with an AI and digitalisation connection is constantly being expanded.  

Education 

In a comparison of Germany, Baden-Württemberg leads in terms of Number of professorships180 professors are researching and teaching in the field of AI and robotics. The state recognised the necessity of this expansion early on, anchored it in the first higher education funding agreement (2015-2020) and set priorities early on in higher education expansion programmes in dialogue with business and science. Ten additional junior professorships are to follow through the "KI-BW" funding programme.   

In the next parts of the blog series, the initiatives of other federal states on the topic of AI will be highlighted. Finally, there will be an overview of how the states compare nationally in making Germany more attractive as an AI location and differentiating themselves from other AI nations such as China and the USA through value-based, responsible AI development.

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Our AT editorial team consists of various employees who prepare the corresponding blog articles with the greatest care and to the best of their knowledge and belief. Our experts from the respective fields regularly provide you with current contributions from the data science and AI sector. We hope you enjoy reading.

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