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FCT and Google support Portuguese research in AI


The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and Google have recently established a collaboration agreement that aims to support research projects in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Portugal over the next two years. This support, which translates into the provision of credits in AI services on the Google Cloud Platform worth 2 million dollars, will be awarded through a Call for projects to be launched by FCT in September this year. The presentation of this partnership will be made today, July 19, in an online session.

For the first phase of this support, the priority research subareas within AI were identified as Natural Language processing, namely the creation of computational models and tools for the Portuguese language, and Responsible AI, which aims to develop systems that follow ethical principles and allow for the explainability of their behavior. In the second year, it is intended to increase and expand this initiative, aiming to create an ecosystem to support research and innovation activities in AI in Portugal.

The development of Artificial Intelligence research in these sub-areas makes it possible, for example, to provide large-scale access to information and communication across languages, cultures, and skills, and Portugal already has major success stories in this field, such as Unbabel and Priberam.

This collaboration with Google will complement the existing support provided by the FCT in the scope of the RNCA - National Network for Advanced Computing, which makes high performance computing resources available through its operational centers: Minho Advanced Computing Centre (MACC), Advanced Computing Laboratory of the University of Coimbra (LCA-UC), High Performance Computing of the University of Évora (HPC-UÉ) and the National Infrastructure for Distributed Computing (INCD).

Fernando Pereira, Google Vice President, Engineering Fellow, said of this partnership that "Technology has an important role to play in building an inclusive, sustainable and green recovery. Public-private partnerships are the foundation of this work, and Google continues to join forces with the Portuguese government to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital transition."

Today, July 19, at 18:00, FCT and Google will promote an online session entitled "Research in Artificial Intelligence in Portugal", in which details of this joint collaboration to support research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be presented. The session will be attended by Paulo Quaresma, FCT Board Member, Fernando Pereira, Google Vice President, Engineering Fellow, and will be moderated by Helena Martins, from Google, and will open with an intervention by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor.