Helmholtz AI: Successful Evaluation

Helmholtz AI underwent a successful review on 6-7 October. The initial feedback from the review panel was that Helmholtz AI has fulfilled its mission comprehensively by enabling all research fields with AI/ML. The continuation of the platform was strongly recommended.


Helmholtz AI is a research-driven hub for applied artificial intelligence (AI) and one of five platforms initiated by the Helmholtz Information and Data Science Incubator. Three years after our foundation we underwent a thorough review during September and October 2022, with the main event taking place in-person at the coordinating center Helmholtz Munich from 6-7 Oct. 

The evaluation panel represented national and international experts from different institutions, such as the ETH Zürich, the Daresbury Laboratory, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas and multiple more. Panel members from companies such as Bosch and Blue Yonder completed the evaluation panel and brought in additional perspectives from industry. In-depth discussions with the heads of all Helmholtz AI units, many Helmholtz AI research group members and all six Helmholtz AI consultant team leads helped the reviewers to obtain a possibly complete picture of Helmholtz AI, its research focus and support functions, and how it is embedded into the Helmholtz Association and international landscape.

What has been presented

During two day’s sessions, the scope of activities, progress and achievements, as well as the future plans, were presented and discussed in detail. Helmholtz AI has delivered on its mission through its broad range of activities, and built up concentrated, recognised AI expertise from PhD students and consultants to principal investigators and Helmholtz AI associates. Across the platform, Helmholtz AI scientists published more than 260 papers, ran 250 consultings, held more than 240 seminars and outreach events, received 28 awards or prizes and provided over 110 resources such as software packages to the community. The Helmholtz AI community is growing, e.g. through the funding of competitively selected collaborative projects as well as fresh outside funding, and came together at events such as workshops, training or our flagship annual Helmholtz AI conference. 

Initial feedback: Helmholtz AI has fulfilled its mission comprehensively by enabling all research fields with AI/ML

According to the preliminary response by the reviewers, Helmholtz AI achieved high quality results in consulting, research and projects in a short period and contributed added value for the Helmholtz Association through fostering substantial collaboration and technology transfer. Thus, Helmholtz AI has fulfilled its mission in the ramp-up phase comprehensively by enabling all research fields with AI/ML. The continuation of the platform is strongly recommended. Multiple of the future plans of further strengthening and expanding Helmholtz AI have been endorsed by the panel. The impressive interdisciplinary and enthusiastic team and leadership and the successful recruiting of talents despite a competitive market, have been especially acknowledged.

Fabian Theis, the Scientific Director of Helmholtz AI, says: “The setup of Helmholtz AI has been a true success, we are proud of our achievements and grateful for the recognition through the distinguished panel. Now our main focus turns towards forging a Helmholtz AI community beyond boundaries, expanding our AI consulting activities and scaling and interconnecting our efforts in training for young scientists. We are enthusiastic about this opportunity and I would like to thank all Helmholtz AI members who contributed to this success.”

The full review report is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks. Further, we will derive action points for Helmholtz AI for adopting our next steps according to reviewer’s suggestions.

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