NWA call for human-centred Artificial Intelligence

The Dutch Research Council (NWO), in collaboration with the Netherlands AI Coalition (NL AIC) and as part of the Dutch research agenda (NWA), has published a new call: “Synergy theme Artificial Intelligence: Human-centred AI for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust”. The goal of this call is to acquire knowledge and insights that contribute to the development and application of reliable, human-centred artificial intelligence.

Human-centred Artificial Intelligence

AI (Artificial intelligence) is one of the most influential technologies in this day and age. However, citizen involvement in the overall AI development process has been lacking, which has lead to some backlash. To promote more active citizen participation in AI development projects the Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects (ELSA) labs were launched at the end of 2019.

The goal of ELSA labs is to ensure that companies, governmental entities, knowledge institutions, civil society organisations and citizens jointly develop responsible AI applications. This involves solutions for both societal and business challenges, with a focus on fairness, justice, safety and above all reliability.

The published NWA-call facilitates research in ELSA Labs to make human-centred artificial intelligence possible. Consortia of public and private organisations, companies, social parties and regulators, work in ELSA-Labs (the environment for co-creation) together with citizens and the government on human-centred AI solutions based on concrete cases. Moreover, it is important that the developed solutions are generalisable and scalable.

Details of the NWO Call Synergy Theme Artificial Intelligence

  • Within this call applications can be submitted for:
    • ELSA Labs (Phase II) and
    • a network project (Phase III).
    • It has to be noted that the Network Project is only available to consortia of ELSA Labs (Phase II) that have received funding.
  • The partners of the consortium must be able to jointly bring in the necessary knowledge (ethical, legal, societal, economic and technological/AI) for the ELSA Labs.
  • A consortium should consist of at least one coordinator, one applicant and one cooperation partner.
  • The deadline for submission of mandatory initiatives (Phase I) is 2 September 2021.
  • The deadline for submitting applications for an ELSA Lab (Phase II) is 4 November 2021.
  • The deadline for submitting the Network Project application (Phase III) is 2 June 2022.


AI call budget

For this call for proposals a total budget of € 11,370,000 is available, allocated as follows:

  • In phase I no funding is allocated
  • In phase II a minimum of € 2 million and a maximum of € 2,194,000 is available per project. Phase II is subdivided in 4 distinct categories:
    • Economy, Domestic Policy, Defence
    • Economy, Domestic Policy, Justice and Security
    • Economy, Domestic Administration, Culture and Media
    • Economy, Domestic governance + Social challenge
  • In phase III (network project) a maximum of €400,000 is available for a single project.


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