Beijer Foundation to fund new AI professorship

3 May 2019

From the left: Anders Malmberg, Johan Tysk, Eva Åkesson, the chairman of the foundation Anders Wall, Johan Wall and Anders Hallberg.

Uppsala University is setting up a chair in artificial intelligence (AI). It will be funded with SEK 15 million, over five years, by the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation. The focus of the professorship will be on AI as a research tool.

As the new Ångström Lab at Uppsala University takes shape, an IT initiative is under way in the Faculty of Science and Technology. Use of AI and big data is constantly expanding and set to exert a powerful influence on tomorrow’s world. Major initiatives in this area, both in Sweden and abroad, are in progress.

“Based on enormous quantities of data provided mechanically, AI has made possible intelligent decisions on, for example, self-driving vehicles, or interpretation of healthcare test results. In scientific and technological research, too, there are major needs,” says Professor Johan Tysk, Vice-Rector of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University.

Support for research

The professorship is intended to support other scholarly work, mainly in science and technology. Through it, researchers in classic scientific fields, such as physics, chemistry, biology and geoscience, will be offered scope to develop their own research areas by using of AI. Modelling and simulation methods, for example, can help to enhance research quality.

“The focus for the professorship will be AI as a research tool. Our idea is that if we encourage the use of AI for this purpose, it will penetrate the teaching as well. That will bring about a general improvement in skills in the area of AI that our students can take with them when they start their working lives,” says Johan Tysk.

“We’re very grateful for, and pleased about, the Beijer Foundation donation. It represents a substantial investment in artificial intelligence as a tool for research in science and technology. Thanks to this, the transdisciplinary environment at the Ångström Lab and the Faculty as a whole will be strengthened further.”

Collaboration with Beijer Foundation

Since 1990, the Beijer Foundation has donated some SEK 150 million for Uppsala University’s and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences’ extensive gene and neuro research, research on pharmaceutical drugs and research on domestic animals. Work in these three areas is coordinated under the name of the Beijer Laboratories in Uppsala.

“One outcome of our many years’ close collaboration with Uppsala University has been the Beijer Laboratory for Gene and Neuro Research, which is one of the foremost in the world. Now we’re aiming to expand our collaboration by providing support in an exciting new scientific field,” says Anders Wall, Chairman of the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation.

The professorship, to be known as the “Beijer Professorship in Artificial Intelligence”, will be based at the Ångström Laboratory in Uppsala. The position will be filled during the course of 2020.