The schools are named after computer inventor Konrad Zuse and have the task of strengthening AI education at master's degree and doctoral level through cross-university, innovative teaching and learning formats, and close links to the digital economy. Excellent research training in the schools will involve cooperation between researchers from various higher education and non-university research institutions and experts from research and development departments in business. This should enable the schools to help attract highly talented German and international graduates to undertake AI studies at master's degree or PhD level in Germany, and to bind them to Germany as a research location in the long term. Special features of the schools are their continuous funding from master's degree to doctorate and a comprehensive mentoring concept.
The Konrad Zuse School providers are all German universities. They will receive funding of up to 3 million EUR per year in the medium term for staff, scholarships, international mobility support for those involved, the expansion of innovative forms of teaching, and academic communication.
German Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said:
"The plan is for Germany to become even more attractive to national and international AI specialists. My objective is that the best minds from around the world are trained here and stay here. That’s precisely where the Konrad Zuse Schools come in. Mentors from academia and business will enable young talents to enjoy excellent, research-based education across disciplines and locations and, at the same time, an application-oriented opportunity for career paths in business. The Konrad Zuse Schools will thus secure our world-leading position in the research and development of AI."
DAAD president Professor Joybrato Mukherjee said:
"Artificial intelligence is one of this decade’s most significant research and development topics. Germany as an academic and business location needs excellent new recruits to keep pace with the global AI competition. Given our experience of initiating global networks and attracting international students and doctoral candidates, we at the DAAD are therefore keen to help establish the Konrad Zuse Schools. We want to work with the selected higher education institutions to establish the schools as internationally recognised centres of excellence in the funding of AI."
After the second selection round with six full proposals, which emerged from 18 initial expressions of interest, the following three final Zuse Schools have now been selected:
- Konrad Zuse School of Excellence in Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELIZA)
Provider: Technical University of Darmstadt
Also participating: University of Tübingen, Saarland University, Heidelberg University, University of Freiburg, Technical University of Munich, Free University of Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Software System, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications – Heinrich Hertz Institute, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, German Cancer Research Center
- Konrad Zuse School of Excellence in Embedded Composite Artificial Intelligence (SECAI)
Provider: Technical University of Dresden
Also participating: University of Leipzig, Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, Center for Tactile Internet with Human-In-The-Loop, Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Center for Scalable Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, Center for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZIH)
- Konrad Zuse School of Excellence in Reliable Artificial Intelligence (relAI)
Provider: Technical University of Munich,
Also participating: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security, Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems, Helmholtz Munich