AI Projects for the Common Good: BMAS Civic Innovation Programme Supports Development of People-Centred AI Applications

Up to €500,000 for projects developing AI technologies at serve the promotion of social inclusion, civic participation or better labour conditions.

This initiative by Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS – German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs) is part of the Civic Innovation Platform (CIP) Programme which support interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary development on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) that contribute to the common good in the area of labour and social policy. The programme is designed to promote the people-centred use of AI and strengthen the broader application and perception of AI in society with a focus on usage for the common good.

The funding initiative Civic Innovation: Funding for Common Good AI Projects (Civic Innovation – Förderung von gemeinwohlorientierten KI-Projekten) supports research projects on AI technologies that serve the common good and address topics that fall under the remit of BMAS.

In particular, the following topics will be considered:

  • Occupational safety and health protection.
  • Work culture.
  • Labour markets.
  • Organisation of work.
  • Transparency and explainability of AI applications.
  • Social partnerships and participation.
  • Continuing education and training.

BMAS will fund projects in the following areas:

  • AI-based applications for the direct use by citizens, eg to support social and civic participation.
  • Optimisation and expansion of people-centred offerings and services, eg AI-based applications for easier access to public administration services or to support mental health in working processes.
  • AI-based processes for the optimisation of internal processes of labour organisation, further training or occupational safety, eg AI-supported decision-making processes in regard to resource allocation.
  • Adaptation of existing AI-based solutions for the needs and requirements of civil society or individual groups (user-experience design).
  • Networking of actors from different areas of civil society, science and industry to support cross-sector development of innovative AI applications for the common good.

Projects will be supported up to the development state of prototype development.

Funding is provided for interdisciplinary and/or cross-sector research consortia that bring together at least two actors from different sectors. Eligible to participate in consortia are local and regional authorities, public or private educational and research institutions, associations, societies and charitable foundations, commercial and social enterprises, as well as ther types of public institutions or legal entities of public law in Germany.

BMAS offers project grants of up to 90% of all project-related eligible costs. The maximum funding amount is €500,000.

The scheme comprises a two-stage application process. As a first step, interested parties are asked to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). In the case of a positive review of the EOI, shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit their full application to BMAS.

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 20 June 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)