AI and Bavaria

Bavaria wants to catch up on the international stage

Bavaria wants to be a trendsetter in artificial intelligence. Through a variety of investment programmes, the Bavarian government is working to assist companies and higher education institutions so they can keep pace with the AI technology leaders in the USA and China.

Large coat of arms of Bavaria

Digitalization – the key to competitiveness

As part of its Digital Bavaria Strategy, the Free State of Bavaria is investing €6 billion into the digitalization of Bavaria from 2015 to 2022. The state government is seeking to position Bavaria as a leader in the digital age. The programme is undergoing continuous further development.

Bavaria is investing in the development of artificial intelligence

In 2018, the Bavarian government decided to invest €280 million into AI research in the coming years through the “Digital Lighthouse Projects” initiative. This is in addition to the existing initiatives such as Digital Bavaria. This initiative will establish an “Artificial Machine Intelligence” competence network at multiple locations across Bavaria. Along with six other scientific institutions, the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS) is taking part with its “Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIRO)” in Würzburg.

In October 2019, a further reinforcement was added with the launch of the Hightech Agenda Bavaria (HTA), which includes an additional €2 billion to promote digitalization and advanced technologies in Bavaria through 2024. The field of artificial intelligence is prioritized by the Hightech Agenda. It sees Bavaria as an AI district with an AI network in which Munich is a world-class AI center. Further AI nodes are situated in Würzburg, Erlangen, Nuremberg and Ingolstadt. With its Center Robotics and Intelligence (CERI), Schweinfurt is an end node in this network. AI and other highly advanced fields are all being treated as a key competence for Bavaria with an investment volume totalling €600 million.

100 new AI professorships for Bavaria

Out of this €600 million, the Bavarian government is investing €360 million through 2023 into a state-wide AI research network (“AI District Bavaria”) and funding 100 new AI professorships throughout Bavaria. Four of these professorships are going to FHWS.

AI data science node with CAIRO in Würzburg

Würzburg has a special role in both the Hightech Agenda and the Bavarian AI strategy. This is because Würzburg is designated alongside Munich, Ingolstadt and Erlangen-Nuremberg as one of the four “AI nodes” in the Bavarian AI network. These nodes function as anchoring and connecting points in order to allow companies and institutions that are proficient in AI to connect to the Bavarian AI network.

The technical focus for the Würzburg AI node is in the field of “Data Science”. This is represented by the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS) with the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIRO) as well as the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) with the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (CAIDAS).

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The Mainfranken high-tech region

As an innovation leader, Mainfranken is one of the top high-tech regions in Europe. Innovative world-class companies are represented here alongside many small and medium-sized companies. A large share of the roughly 92,000 companies in Mainfranken are working in future-oriented sectors. Here, AI is seen as a key technology with enormous economic potential. However, using AI in companies requires a certain level of technical expertise. Due to a shortage of qualified technical personnel for these companies, many AI projects are still in the initial stage.

FHWS is responding to this urgent staffing need with its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIRO) as well as a new master’s programme in artificial intelligence that is planned. CAIRO should facilitate intensive cooperation between science and industry. The master’s programme is an attractive follow-up with great potential for the future, for example, for the bachelor's programme in robotics as well as other degree programmes that emphasize computer science. The bachelor's programme in robotics is being launched in the 2020/2021 winter semester. It is offered in both English and German at the university in Schweinfurt.