The JKU and Upper Austrian University of Applied Sciences are pleased to be able to jointly offer one of five FWF-approved programs in Austria.
Research will focus on human-centric artificial intelligence (AI).
The joint doctorate degree program between universities of applied sciences and universities brings the best of both worlds together: base-knowledge research combined with applied practice. As announced by the federal government as part of its government program, initial projects in the new Austrian Science Fund’s doc.funds.connect funding program will begin in the fall of 2021. Each project will be funded with approximately € 1 million and for a period of four years and per project, up to five junior researchers can earn their doctorate degree as part of a joint educational and research structure under top-quality supervision.
Alberta Bonanni, Vice-Rector for Research, Gender and Diversity at the JKU remarked: "The JKU was Austria’s first university to offer an undergraduate and graduate degree program in Artificial Intelligence. Together with the Upper Austrian University of Applied Sciences, we will now be taking the next step and, thanks to funding provided by the Austrian Science Fund, will be establishing Austria’s first joint doctorate degree program for 'human-centered artificial intelligence'."
Johann Kastner, Vice President of Research & Development at University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria added: "The funding program is a milestone in strengthening collaboration between universities, giving us a valuable opportunity to ensure sustainable partnerships between universities of applied sciences and universities."
Human Needs at the Heart of AI Research
Over the past few years, rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) has not only brought tremendous potential to light, but various risks as well. Research in AI research has primarily focused on developing systems designed to solve increasingly complex tasks with as high a degree of accuracy as possible. As a result, decisions and actions by these kinds of systems are becoming increasingly difficult for people to follow.
This is exactly where the joint doctorate degree program offered by the Upper Austrian University of Applied Sciences and the Johannes Kepler University Linz titled "Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HCAI)" will come in. The goal is to put people and their needs at the center of AI research. Junior scientists will not only develop methods to make artificial intelligence more comprehensible, transparent and fair for humans, the idea is to also support the interaction between humans and AI systems. Under the leadership of Ulrich Bodenhofer (AI professor at FH OÖ Campus Hagenberg), the program will feature the smartest minds and their respective areas of expertise: Michael Affenzeller (Heuristic Optimization and Machine Learning, FH Upper Austria), Mirjam Augstein (Personalized and Collaborative Systems, FH Upper Austria), Gabriele Kotsis (Applied Computer Science and Information Systems, JKU Linz), Martina Mara (Robot Psychology, JKU Linz), Markus Schedl (Recommender Systems and Information Retrieval, JKU Linz), and Marc Streit (Visual Data Science, JKU Linz). Doctoral candidates in the doc.funds.connect program will not only benefit from a cross-disciplinary program featuring high-caliber researchers, they will also work at the forefront of developing a new generation of human-centered AI technology.