AI innovation package launched by European Commission to support startups and SMEs

AI innovation package launched by European Commission to support startups and SMEs

The European Commission has launched an AI innovation package to support European startups and SMEs in the development of trustworthy AI that respects EU rules and values

The AI innovation package will provide a broad range of measures to support AI startups and innovation. It is set to include a proposal to provide privileged access to supercomputers to AI startups and the broader innovation community.

The launch of the package follows the political agreement reached in December 2023 on the EU AI Act. The Act is the first comprehensive law on Artificial Intelligence and will support the development of trustworthy AI in the EU.

The announcement of the new package is set to accelerate the Commission’s commitment to foster growth in the technology sector.

What is included in the AI innovation package?

The AI package contains measures to support AI startups and SMEs, including an amendment of the EuroHPC Regulation to set up AI factories, a decision to establish an AI Office within the Commission, and an EU AI startup and innovation communication.

Setting up AI factories

The amendment to set up AI factories will include:

  • Operating AI-dedicated supercomputers to enable fast Machine Learning and training of large general-purpose AI models;
  • Allowing access to AI-dedicated supercomputers;
  • Supporting the AI startup and research ecosystem in algorithmic development, providing supercomputer-friendly programming facilities; and
  • Enabling the development of emerging AI applications based on general-purpose AI models.

Establishing an AI office

Developing an AI office within the Commission will ensure the coordination of AI policy at the European level.

It will also provide a platform to supervise the implementation of the forthcoming AI Act.

EU AI startup and innovation communication

The communication will outline the additional key activities:

  • Financial support from the Commission through Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe programme dedicated to generative AI;
  • Initiatives to strengthen the EU’s generative AI talent pool;
  • Encourage public and private investments in AI startups and scaleups;
  • Accelerate the deployment of Common European Data Spaces made available to the AI community; and
  • The GenAI4EU initiative that supports the development of new use cases in Europe’s industrial ecosystems and public sector.

As part of the AI innovation package, the commission is also establishing two European Digital Infrastructure Consortiums with a number of Member States, the Alliance for Language Technologies and the CitiVERSE EDIC.

AI@EC communication

The Commission has also adopted a communication outlining the Commission’s own strategic approach to the use of AI.

With this vision, the Commission is preparing internally for the implementation of the EU AI Act. It includes concrete actions about how the Commission will build operational capacity to ensure the development of trustworthy AI.

The Commission will support EU public administrations in their own adoption and the use of AI.

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