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The Russian government will allocate 5.4 billion rubles for establishing and supporting AI research centers in Russia. The competitive selection of candidate centers announced by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko started on July 15. A part of the Artificial Intelligence federal project supervised by the Ministry of Economic Development, the competition is operated by the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation. The winners will be awarded grants to support their AI research.
The competition will cover 14 advanced AI areas, ranging from AI system analysis and verification tools to AI solutions for priority sectors, including medicine, urban infrastructure, agriculture and food production, environmental monitoring, advanced robotics and industrial automation, and tertiary sector. Other important categories include cross-industry technologies, such as biometrics and cybersecurity, and, last but not least, ethical aspects of AI.
According to Deputy Minister of Economic Development Vladislav Fedulov, “the jury will give particular consideration to AI applications which, in the short term, can be made available to businesses, public authorities, and individual users”. “Their implementation will help augment the efficiency of planning, forecasting and management decision-making, automate routine manufacturing operations, enhance the safety of workers, and provide our industries with autonomous intelligent systems, robots, and smart logistics solutions,” Fedulov noted.
With this aim in view, the Ministry of Economic Development endorsed the competition guideline which defines an AI research center’s end product as a software or hardware-and-software application of a high technology maturity level.
Grigory Andrushchak, Head of the Research Centers Project Office at the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation: “This is indeed a landmark project. We have created an expert council grouping dozens of top AI professionals who have identified priority areas for research center support. We will closely collaborate with the council in evaluating the candidates and their applications. I am confident that our expert community will leverage its authority and competences to help select and support the most ambitious and promising cases.”
Alexander Kuleshov, President of Skoltech (the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology): “AI is generally perceived as a vague notion associated with a distant future, but it is not. AI algorithms and devices have already pervaded our lives. A lag in AI will inevitably lead to the degradation of the country and irreversible stagnation of technology. Our mission is to not let this happen.”
Collaborations with industrial partners are a mandatory requirement for the applicants. The industrial partner will decide what the research center should focus on and fund the relevant part of R&D.
AI research centers will help create and expand a pool of skilled AI professionals by delivering lectures and workshops, as well as developing new training courses and educational programs, both on their own and in collaboration with their partners.