The AI Innovation Competition launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is crucial for the fast implementation of the national AI strategy. The aim of this project is to promote artificial intelligence in all important areas of the economy while focusing strongly on the needs and opportunities of Germany’s many small and medium-sized companies.

In response to the first funding call for the AI Innovation Competition in January 2019 more than 130 concepts for AI-based platform solutions had been submitted by the beginning of March 2019. In a subsequent phase of the competition involving a formal review process with external experts, 16 projects qualified to participate in the funded, three-year implementation phase starting in early 2020. Thanks to their powerful, assertive alliances with industry and science in their respective application areas, these project proposals combined all the necessary technical and non-technical expertise to achieve rapid establishment of the corresponding platforms or ecosystems. The hope here is to pave the way for the widespread use of innovative and at times unconventional solutions in the economy.

At the beginning of 2021, four winning projects from the second funding call of the AI Innovation Competition entered into the three-year implementation phase. Within the scope of the second call, funding will be provided for projects from application fields that were under represented in the first call, i.e., construction/BIM, financial services/data sovereignty and environment/agriculture. In addition, the projects of the second funding call are to contribute to the further implementation of GAIA-X.

Work is underway to continue the AI Innovation Competition with a focus on coping with crises, such as the current coronavirus pandemic. As part of the third funding call for the AI Innovation Competition in this field, further projects are to be launched over the course of 2021.