Delft University of Technology has launched a new series of eight AI labs, aimed at accelerating scientific progress and helping to solve societal issues in areas such as automated driving, the built environment and energy systems. Another eight are to follow later in 2021, bringing the total to 24. In the past year alone, the university has filled nearly all the 16 associate professor positions opened for the AI programs, with recruitment of 32 PhD students to start at the end of February.
According to the university, AI-related knowledge is vital for the future generation of engineers and scientists in technology, which is why the labs look to reinforce teaching in AI, data sciences and digitalization, while also building bridges with teaching in the various science domains. As such, each of the TU Delft AI Labs looks to incorporate a broad range of experts within its framework. By the end of 2021, the labs will house around 150 academics from all eight faculties, with each lab consisting of a team of experts and scientists, half of which will conduct research into AI, while the other half is focused on another domain.
“Within TU Delft, there was already a wealth of experience working in ‘labs,’ which act as a kind of pressure cooker for transdisciplinary collaboration,” describes Geert-Jan Houben, the recently appointed pro-vice-rector of AI, data and digitalization at TU Delft. “In the field of AI, moreover, we’ve already been working together with important stakeholders via the ICAI labs, for example. When we launched the first TU Delft AI Labs in 2020, they turned out to be a magnet for scientific talent. Right now, around 65 researchers are working together there. Their enthusiasm is infectious and the experience they’re gaining is vital for the eight new labs that have just been launched.”