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Judged on its excellence regarding teaching, research, innovation and technological transfer, as well as on the variety of its training, the consortium led by HEC Paris and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris (École polytechnique, ENSTA, ENSAE, Telecom Paris, Telecom SudParis) and bringing together Inria, the CNRS, the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and the Université de Technologie de Troyes, wins the Project Call Cluster AI.
Supported by the Interdisciplinary Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analysis Hi! PARIS, the project receives financing of 70 million euros to establish one of the very first global research, training and innovation hubs in Artificial Intelligence to the benefit of French society. 

As an integral part of the investment plan “France 2030”, the objective of the Call AI Cluster is to build a network of around ten French academic hubs with an international reputation in artificial intelligence (AI), and thus stimulate the emergence of international leaders in France, attract the greatest talents, and increase the number of people trained in AI and its applications. The Call also aims at preserving and consolidating the French research position in the main areas of AI. Finally, the project’s ambition is to deploy AI innovation in all key economic sectors, and in the priority areas of “France 2030” in particular.

With its project called “Hi! PARIS Cluster 2030”, the Center Hi! PARIS, created in September 2020, brings together over 250 professors and researchers, and is supported by L’Oréal, Capgemini, TotalEnergies, KERING, Rexel, VINCI et Schneider Electric. Its stated ambition is to become a global leader, a destination of choice for the most talented students and professors from around the world, and an active participant on the topic, in interaction with other clusters.

The Center Hi! PARIS intends to take on six key challenges:

•    Do cutting-edge research, specifically by tapping into the excellence of the five Paris IP schools (École polytechnique, ENSTA Paris, ENSAE Paris, Télécom Paris, Télécom SudParis), of HEC Paris, of Inria, of the CNRS, of the ENPC and of the UTT.
•    Contribute to the competitiveness of companies in France through life-long learning programs.
•    Attract the best talent in France by offering a portfolio of the most internationally competitive training programs, from the so-called “licence” to the doctorate level.
•    Contribute to the emergence of 100 unicorns (start-ups valued at over 1 billion USD) by 2030, by establishing a high-performance entrepreneurial ecosystem of innovation.
•    Diversify the talent pool and feminize the sector, by sensitizing, detecting and attracting talent from secondary school level onwards.
•    Play an active role in mutual interactions with other IA clusters at national and European level.

The strategy developed for “Hi! PARIS Cluster 2030” rests on four pillars:

•    Research: organized around seven areas: Mathematical foundations of AI, AI for society, generative AI and foundation models, trusted, frugal and interpretable AI, AI for sciences and engineering, IA for cyber-physical systems and robotics, AI for the economy.
•    Education: To attract international talents to France and to contribute to the competitiveness of companies in France, “Hi! PARIS Cluster 2030” will contribute to doubling the number of AI graduates, by strengthening and by creating new AI curricula in engineering schools, new AI curricula of Masters and MsCT, but also by becoming the global leader at the level of the first education cycle with a series of specific programs (international or professional), by developing a continuous training program offering in AI and by aspiring to feature among the most important educational institutions of AI.
•    Innovation: To support innovation, the project proposes to double the teams of research engineers of the Center, in order to increase the visibility and the impact of our research, but also to develop the infrastructure of computation and data dedicated to AI in close collaboration with the national infrastructure led by Genci (Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif). “Hi! PARIS Cluster 2030” will contribute to creating unicorns thanks to the existing incubation programs, complemented by an AI component. Finally, the AI element of the international acceleration program deep-tech “Creative Destruction Lab”, which serves as launchpad for new French champions, will be strengthened.
•    Society: AI owes it to itself to be at the service of society, by sensitizing, identifying and encouraging talents as of high school (Hi! School program), and by creating a more inclusive, diverse and equitable AI community, specifically regarding gender.

Thierry Coulhon, Acting President of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and Eloïc Peyrache, Director General and Dean of HEC Paris, said: “We are very proud to have won this project call, which constitutes an important stage for the Center Hi! PARIS, as well as for the collaboration – going back many years – between our institutions in the service of science, the economy and society. This brings the Center one step closer to its ambition of becoming a globally attractive hub for research, education, entrepreneurship and innovation in AI. The allotted funds will allow it to accelerate its international dimension, to increase its impact and to reinforce the positioning of France on the international AI scene.”

Eric Moulines, Scientific co-director of Hi! PARIS, added: “I am excited to lead this project, which will allow us to amplify the dynamic kicked off by the interdisciplinary center Hi! PARIS in 2020, thanks to the generous support of our important patrons. The scientific positioning of the Center is absolutely unique. Not only does it include a scientific component of the highest international level, but it also underscores the importance of research oriented towards the impact of artificial intelligence on the society and the economy. This project offers an exceptional opportunity to reinforce our involvement in interdisciplinary research and to expand our influence in the critical areas of AI, while at the same time contributing significantly to the current societal and economic debates. We are determined to increase knowledge and to promote a responsible and beneficial use of AI for the common good.”

Raphaëlle Gautier, Executive Director of Hi! PARIS further added: “The selection of the ‘Hi! PARIS Cluster 2030’ project is a real recognition of the work undertaken by our Center since its inception, it’s a new stage in its development. The whole Hi! PARIS team, and furthermore all the teams from the schools that support us, are mobilized to make France one of the leading global AI hubs, and to contribute to a dynamic, sustainable and inclusive economy and society.”