AI research project in Hagenberg approved

COMET-K modules

As part of the first call for applications for the federal COMET K Modules funding program, which is intended to stimulate new research collaborations between science and industry, a project from Upper Austria also won approval: "Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH) can thus start a new visionary research project that will enable the secure cooperative use of artificial intelligence (AI) models across company boundaries in the future. This is a further important step toward evolving Softwarepark Hagenberg into an internationally visible center for IT security," says Markus Achleitner, Upper Austria's Commissioner for Economics and Research.

Upper Austria' Commissioner for Economics and Research Markus Achleitner (in the middle): "The current funding decision enables a new visionary research project for the secure cooperative use of AI across company boundaries."

"The COMET K Modules funding program is an effective instrument for tackling visionary research projects that can provide an enormous additional boost to innovation. This helps companies to prepare themselves for the challenges of the future. This innovation work also makes an essential contribution to safeguarding the competitiveness of companies and Upper Austria as a business location. The federal funding award is also a great success for Upper Austrian Research (UAR), the leading research association of Upper Austria, which accompanied the application process," emphasizes Achleitner.

For the UAR innovation network, the application process was very successful, with two further approved innovation projects in which the UAR is involved. The COMET K Modules will receive a total of 12 million euros in federal funding, of which two million will go directly to Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH) in Upper Austria as part of the UAR Innovation Network. A further four million euros will go to the Polymer Competence Center Leoben (PCCL), where UAR is co-owner. PCCL is an important partner for Upper Austria's economy and science in the UAR Innovation Network; the research topics in the modules approved there thus also benefit Upper Austria.

SCCH promotes safe and collaborative use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With the K-module "S³AI: Security and Safety for Shared Artificial Intelligence", Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH) strives to create the methodological basis for reliable, secure, distributed artificial intelligence (AI) systems. In the future, this will result in completely new AI-based business models that enable the secure cooperative use of existing data and AI models across company boundaries. Upper Austria will contribute a total of one million euros to the financing of the project over the next four years.

New Impulses in research

K Modules is the latest program line in the nationwide research funding program COMET (Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies) of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The program will enable existing K1 centers to build on their research program and focus on pioneering topics with a high spirit of innovation that transcends the current state of the art. A correspondingly high funding rate of 80 percent, a total project volume of around four million euros per approved project, and a duration of four years will set new impulses in research. The new program line was first announced in April 2018.

Successful COMET annual evaluation results for 2018 continue

With the approval of the K Modules, the successful annual evaluation results for 2018 continue in the COMET program. Upper Austria is currently involved in nine COMET centers (of a total of 25 throughout Austria as of May 2019), six of which have their main locations in Upper Austria. A new research center was approved at the end of last year and is currently under construction: CHASE (Chemical Systems Engineering) will concentrate on the digitalization of production processes in the chemical process industry. The successfully extended K2 center Symbiotic Mechatronics, under the auspices of Linz Center for Mechatronics, started research work at the beginning of the year. Four of the existing centers (Wood K plus, SCCH, CEST and K1-MET) received high positive assessments in the standard interim evaluations and were extended for a further funding period of four years with a total project volume of around 20 million each.

Meeting the needs of industry

"Production research is a particular strength of the UAR Innovation Network. The approved K Modules once again show impressively that the topics are aligned to the needs of industry," says DI Dr. Wilfried Enzenhofer, MBA, Managing Director of UAR.