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Two prominent UvA researchers have been awarded Vici grants worth €1.5 million by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The grants will enable Daniel Mügge and Ivan Titov to develop innovative lines of research and set up their own research groups over the next five years.

The recipients

Prof. Daniel Mügge (Political Arithmetic): Regulation of Artificial Intelligence in the Shadow of Global Interdependence  

The effectiveness of EU rules for artificial intelligence (AI) heavily depends on developments in the AI superpowers USA and China, and in global standard-setting forums. Mügge’s project investigates such regulatory interdependence and assesses how alternative approaches to EU ‘AI diplomacy’ can bolster the effectiveness of EU AI regulation. By developing and analysing alternative future scenarios, it bolsters Europe’s attempts to protect its ‘digital sovereignty’. 

Dr Ivan Titov (Language and Logic): Making neural networks think through language 

Deep learning is behind many of the advances in AI that we hear about and encounter every day, including voice assistants, machine translation, and computer programs beating humans in board games. However, to obtain such an automated system one needs to define a narrow task and collect large amounts of data. These systems fail when given a task even slightly different from the task they were trained to perform. Titov’s project investigates how to make the systems ‘think through language’, discovering generalisable human-like solutions. 

NWO Talent Scheme 

The Vici grant is one of three funding instruments within the Talent Scheme. The other two instruments are the Veni and Vidi grants. Vici grants target highly experienced researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research and act as coaches for young researchers. Vici provides researchers with the opportunity to set up their own research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship. The two Vici grants fall within the domains Exact and Natural Sciences (ENW) and Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). In February, the Vici grants from the domains Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES) and Health Research and Care Innovation (ZonMw) were awarded.