New Programme

Konrad Zuse Schools for AI talent made in Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is expanding its range of funding opportunities relating to artificial intelligence. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the call for applications for the ‘Konrad Zuse Schools’ starts today. Some EUR 25 million will be available under this innovative degree and doctoral programme.

Students and a roboter during lecture

Under the new programme, the DAAD is supporting the establishment of three ‘Konrad Zuse Schools of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence’. The schools will aim to give a comprehensive boost to the education of outstanding young AI researchers at master’s degree and doctoral level in Germany using innovative teaching and learning formats across different universities. Applications from university consortia are open from now until the end of October.

‘International competition in key technologies is tough, so we need excellent talent. Skilled workers and managers are an absolutely crucial competitive factor in the field of artificial intelligence, too. Our aim is to train these experts in Germany and offer programmes that will attract young international academics to Germany. We are taking an important step in this direction by establishing the “Konrad Zuse Schools of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence”. The new programmes will complement the excellent, research-based education at master’s degree and doctoral level by forming early links with industry – this will enable us to show our AI talent various career paths, sustainably strengthen AI research and application in Germany and consistently drive forward the implementation of the Federal Government’s AI strategy,’ explained Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek.

‘Artificial intelligence is one of the most important fields of research in this decade and beyond. Germany as a research hub – its universities, research institutes and companies – needs reliable training and recruitment of excellent young academics from Germany and abroad. The focus of the AI Schools will therefore be on attracting national and international AI talent and retaining it in Germany in the long term, both in academia and industry,’ said DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee.

AI talent for Germany
The establishment of the AI Schools named after computer inventor Konrad Zuse aims to further shorten the gap to the world leaders in the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI). Under this programme, researchers from various universities and non-university research institutions will work together with experts from research and development departments in industry to train highly talented students and graduates at master’s degree and doctoral level.

Diverse range of funding for the Schools
Each of the ‘Konrad Zuse Schools of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence’ will be run by a German university. Both universities and universities of applied sciences can apply. In the medium term, each AI School will receive up to EUR 3 million in funding per year for staff and scholarships as well as to support the international mobility of those involved, the expansion of innovative forms of teaching and science communication.

Two-stage selection procedure
Interested university consortia can submit their proposals to the DAAD by 22 October 2021. From the proposals received, those will be selected for which an application for project funding can be submitted by 15 March 2022. Final selection of the three schools will take place after this, and these can then start their work as of summer 2022.