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Örebro to be AI node in national innovation initiative for applied AI

Johan Schnürer in front of Entréhuset at Örebro University.

Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer highlights the collaboration between university and Region Örebro County as an important factor for success, as it is now clear that Örebro will become a national AI node.

AI Innovation of Sweden is a national initiative to accelerate research and innovation within AI. It is a cooperation between a long list of stakeholders in the industry, the academia, research and the public sector. The initiative is now expanding to include Örebro’s AI Impact Lab as one of the new nodes in the national AI cooperation.

About AI Innovation of Sweden

AI Innovation of Sweden is a national mobilisation to accelerate innovation and research for the application of AI, with the overall objective to strengthen Swedish welfare and the long-term competitiveness of Swedish industry. By providing meeting places, networks, project resources, data and domain knowledge, AI Innovation of Sweden enables, initiates and manages projects within applied AI.

AI Innovation of Sweden is funded by Vinnova, Region Västra Götaland, and more than 50 partners from the industry and public sectors, research institutes, and academia. Lindholmen Science Park AB officially hosts the initiative.

Development within artificial intelligence, AI, is proceeding at a record pace. Since this technology allows the possibility to solve old problems in an entirely new way, the advancing AI wave is referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. For this reason, AI Innovation of Sweden was launched in February this year. This initiative has a strong focus on practical, applied AI projects, as well as making date available within academia, industry and the public sector.

AI Innovation of Sweden aims to function as an engine for the Swedish AI eco-system. In the long term, this will strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish industry and the Swedish welfare system. Within the framework of the initiative, so-called nodes are being established throughout the country to increase the application of AI further. Örebro University, Region Örebro County and AI Innovation of Sweden have now reached an agreement to develop AI Impact Lab into a full-scale node in this national innovation initiative.

“Will strengthen our efforts of developing the region”

“As a partner in this initiative, you get access to and may contribute to a network, resources, knowledge and data, to accelerate your AI development. That a node will now be established here in Örebro is very good news for both the private and public sector. It’s all about being able to work together with projects, resources, knowledge and other initiatives that advances the application of AI. We will now contact our industry partners and secure their participation in the buildup of the node as well as in the accelerated application of AI,” says Amy Loutfi, pro-vice-chancellor for artificial intelligence at Örebro University.

“I see Region Örebro’s designation as a node in support of AI development as a recognition of both the investments we’ve made and of those we are planning. This will strengthen our efforts of developing the region’s competitiveness and capacity for innovation,” says Irén Lejegren (Social Democrat). She is a member of the Regional Executive Board, Region Örebro County and the chair of the regional development committee.

The AI node in Örebro will, among other things, work with health issues, something that both AI Innovation of Sweden and Region Örebro County see as an essential prerequisite.

“AI will be a prerequisite for developing healthcare in the future. Region Örebro has a strong position thanks to leading research, so it is vital that we take advantage of this in our activities,” says Andreas Svahn (Social Democrat). He is the chair of the Regional Executive Board, Region Örebro County.

“This initiative provides us with a unique opportunity to develop our organisation as a healthcare provider. Using AI for decision support in care processes, budget and accounts, support services and administration can be a key support tool going forward. Strategic and systematic utilisation of health data can make healthcare more effective, benefiting the residents in the region,” adds Andreas Svahn.

Amy Loutfi in the robotlab.

"That a node will now be established here in Örebro is very good news for both the private and public sector", says Amy Loutfi, pro-vice-chancellor for AI at Örebro University.

“Örebro has a critical mass of expertise in AI”

Örebro University and Region Örebro County launched AI Impact Lab at the beginning of this past summer. AI Impact Lab will provide access to AI expertise at the university and make it possible for the industry and the public sector to benefit from AI research in their activities. And it is precisely the combination of many strong partners that makes the Örebro region a perfect choice as an AI node, declares Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer.

“Over many years, Örebro University has generated internationally-known AI research. We have a region that strategically understands the unique prerequisites that are in place here in Örebro. Without these existing dynamics between the university and the region, this would have been difficult. But with our collaboration, and with partners like Alfred Nobel Science Park and Inkubera, Örebro has a critical mass of expertise in AI. This AI node fits exceptionally well into our plans for the new ORU Innovation Arena,” says Johan Schnürer.

Martin Svensson.

Martin Svensson, AI Innovation of Sweden.

“We are very impressed by the dedication and long-range investments in research, education and innovation made by Örebro University and Region Örebro County. Together with AI Impact Lab, the region and the university, we are very much looking forward to developing both the regional and the national work within AI Innovation of Sweden. This cooperation is for the betterment of the region and Sweden as a whole,” says Martin Svensson, co-director at AI Innovation of Sweden.

Text: Jesper Eriksson 
Photo: Örebro University, Jesper Eriksson and AI Innovation of Sweden
Translation: Jerry Gray