27 January 2022

Hector foundation supports the establishment of an ELLIS institute with 100 million euros

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Stuttgart/Tübingen, January 27, 2022: With a funding of 100 million euros over a period of 10 years, the Hector foundation paves the way for the establishment of an ELLIS institute in Tübingen, Germany. Today, the signature of the funding agreement took place in Stuttgart. The planned ELLIS institute aims to attract the world's best machine learning talent and will provide them with outstanding conditions to conduct pioneering basic research in the field of artificial intelligence.

Another step towards a pan-European institution for machine learning research

With the ELLIS institute in Tübingen, ELLIS will make an important step towards building a European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems as proposed in an open letter published by leading European AI scientists in 2018. ELLIS expects that similar institutions will be set up at other locations in due course. Baden-Württemberg's Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann, the state’s Science Minister Theresia Bauer, Dr. h.c. Hans-Werner Hector, Founder of the Hector Foundations and one of the Founders of SAP, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schölkopf, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, and Prof. Dr. Bernd Engler, Director of the University of Tübingen participated in the event for the funding agreement in Stuttgart today. The state of Baden-Württemberg is contributing an additional 25 million euros and will provide the structural accommodation and administration for the ELLIS Institute.

"Future systems will deal with the complexity of the world by learning from observations - from astronomy to climate research and medicine. To help shape this development, we created the ELLIS initiative. I was grateful for the opportunity to talk extensively with Dr. Hans-Werner Hector about this paradigm shift, and I am now grateful for his generous support. His vision and drive fall on fertile ground. Hector Endowed ELLIS Fellowships will offer the greatest possible freedom and exceptional working conditions in order to attract highly qualified researchers. We are working towards a model for an agile multi-site AI Lighthouse in Europe that will attract the best minds and enable them to build the future of Europe based on technological leadership and European values. Today, we are placing a first cornerstone," said Bernhard Schölkopf who will serve as the founding director of the new institute.


ELLIS – the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems - is a European AI network of excellence. It focuses on fundamental science, technical innovation and societal impact. ELLIS is a grassroots initiative that wants to maintain and foster European technological sovereignty in this competitive field. The aim is to invest in existing talent, attract new talent, and build a network of outstanding European innovation ecosystems. Currently, there are 34 ELLIS units in 14 countries. 380 ELLIS Fellows and ELLIS scholars are working on 14 ELLIS research programs all over Europe. In its first year, the ELLIS PhD & Postdoc Program accepted 120 PhD and Postdoc students. 158 ELLIS members have an ERC grant.