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AI at Research 2 Reality Brussels

by | 15/05/2024 | Conferences


On February 5th and 6th, I attended Research 2 Reality Brussels. This event was organized by the European Commission. The event was held in the beautiful city of Brussels, Belgium. The event was a great opportunity to learn about European research and policy making in the field of AI and (Quantum) Computing. In this blogpost, I will share some of the key takeaways from the event.
The first day (February 5th) was a typical conference day with keynotes, talks and panel discussions from various leaders from companies and authorities from the European Commission. The second day (February 6th), we got the opportunity to visit a company that focusses on those innovations. I visited FARI, the AI for Common Good Institute in Brussels. We also got some keynotes at the Google Digital Atelier in Brussels and got a walkthrough at the Startup hub in Brussels.
Intro screen keynote hall Research to Reality and a (still) open stage.
Luc Van den hove with his Keynote presentation including he title: "Collaborate to Innovate How Deeptech tackles societal challenges.

Luc Van den hove’ s Vision on Mindset

Luc Van Den Hove, CEO and President of IMEC, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics, chips and digital technologies, gave a keynote on the importance of mindset in the digital age. The keyword he used was ‘We Believe’. For me, also known as Mr. #DreamingIsBelieving it was enlightening to see how Luc is promoting a positive mindset to handle current challenges with technology.
His vision on mindset is that we need to move from a grants mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset. Instead of chasing for grants from the government, we should focus on creating value and impact as an entrepreneur.
Let’s recap: everything we do on our computers, cloud and smartphones to make impact is based on chips. Research in chips makes it possible to innovate even more in AI and (quantum) computing.
It was also interesting to see that here in Belgium there is also a focus on Quantum Computing. After this session, I am even more proud on my country Belgium.

European Comission: A sovereign Europe

Saila Rinne, Acting Head of Unit at the European Commission gave a session and led a panel discussion on EU Funding programs in support of data-driven innovation in healthcare. In her session and in the panel one thing was loud and clear: We need to move ‘From Mediocracy to Excellence’. The narrative of people and entrepreneurs in the EU is too humble. We need to change the narrative and see the benefits of sovereignty and sovereign computing in Europe.
Later on in this blogpost, I will share some concepts I learned at Research 2 Reality Brussels that are based on the narrative of sovereignty and and how this can be a competitive advantage for European startups and companies.

The advantage of data scarcity

To be honest, if I hear about scarcity, my first thoughts are very negative. Nobody wants to live in scarcity of assets or resources. But in the digital age, scarcity can be an advantage. The European Union is known for its strict privacy laws. This can be a competitive advantage for European companies. Let me take a moment to explain why.
If you are building AI models, you need data. The more data you have, the easier it will be to build a good model. On the other hand, an AI model is the combination of data and algorithms. When you have less data than your competitors, you need to have better algorithms. This is where the European Union can have a competitive advantage.
People are also more and more eager about their privacy. They want to know what happens with their data. They want to know if their data is safe. If European companies can guarantee this and in addition to this have AI solutions that are really good and productive, they will attract different customers. Customers that are willing to pay more for a product that is safe and trustworthy.

AI for Medical Appliance: An EU Trademark?

Another field of interest for AI in Europe can be the Medical field. We need to admit, Europe has a great reputation in the medical field. We have great hospitals, great doctors and great research centers. In Europe, medical help is also way more affordable than other parts in the world. If we can combine this with AI, we can create a trademark for Europe in the field of AI for Medical Appliance.
And here, again privacy laws and the scarcity of data can be an advantage. We can challenge companies to build AI models that are really good and productive with less data to use in the medical field for example.


My journey to Research 2 Reality started with the importance of mindset. We need to move from a grants mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset. We need to see the benefits of sovereignty and sovereign computing in Europe. If we embrace the AI Laws and the scarcity of data, we can challenge mediocracy and create safe, trustworthy and sovereign AI models that can be a trademark for Europe and apply them in the medical field. We can be more patient-centric and solve challenges in the medical field with AI.
The banner on top of Google Digital Atelier entrance. There is also an open door.