The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) establishes ELLIS units across 10 European countries and Israel including CIIRC CTU


ELLIS – The European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems – announced establishment of 17 ELLIS units during NeurIPS conference in Vancouver, Canada, on Dec 10. The units aim to offer European researchers excellent conditions to carry out their research in machine learning and related fields in Europe. One of the units will be in Prague, at the Czech institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University (CIIRC CTU).

 ELLIS aims to offer European researchers outstanding opportunities to carry out their research in Europe, and to nurture the next generation of European young researchers in this field of strategic importance. Its goal is to enable Europe to be competitive in modern AI and benefit from its positive economic and societal impact. The establishment of the ELLIS units is the next step towards the realization of the ELLIS vision of an intergovernmental European AI program with multiple ELLIS institutes performing world-class multi-disciplinary research.

The Czech ELLIS unit brings together three researchers – Josef Šivic, Josef Urban and Robert Babuška – who came to CIIRC CTU from France and the Netherlands under the Czech “come from abroad[1]” program to build new research teams in different areas of artificial intelligence. The first two are also recipients of the prestigious ERC grants. The Czech ELLIS unit further brings in Tomáš Pajdla, ELLIS fellow and head of the Applied Algebra and Geometry Group at CIIRC CTU, and Tomáš Mikolov, who is coming to the Czech Republic and CIIRC CTU after having research positions at Facebook and Google to build his own research team focused on investigating general artificial intelligence. These five internationally recognized researchers and their research teams will form the basis for active collaboration with ELLIS as well as other research teams in the Czech Republic. The objective it to create an environment that will further attract outstanding researchers in artificial intelligence to the Czech Republic.

“Being part of ELLIS is a great opportunity for the Czech Republic,” explains Josef Šivic, member of the ELLIS Board, researcher at CIIRC CTU, and the French Institute INRIA. “Being selected as one of the ELLIS units is also a recognition of our work. CIIRC CTU offers a unique environment which stimulates foundational research as well as transfer of research results into applications that have impact on the economy and society,” adds Šivic.

ELLIS is not the only one international initiative in the field of artificial intelligence that CIIRC participates in. “We should not only be visible on the research map of Europe, but also take part in writing the future of AI, it is essential that we collaborate with the top research institutions,” explains prof. Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of CIIRC CTU, his strategy that made CIIRC a centre of excellence within such a short time after its foundation. “We further collaborate with DFKI – German laboratory for artificial intelligence, INRIA (one of the key partners of the French national AI initiative) or CLAIRE. We have just applied for a European centre of Excellence Eternitis in a collaboration with 42 consortium partners,” adds Mařík.

Apart from Prague, the ELLIS units are located in Alicante, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Delft, Freiburg, Helsinki, Linz, Lausanne, Leuven, Oxford, Saarbrücken, Tel Aviv, Tübingen, Vienna (IST Austria) and Zürich. The units were selected by an international evaluation committee based on proven scientific excellence and the implementation of measures to foster the ELLIS mission. To avoid conflicts of interest, all the reviews were done by scientists of countries different from the units being evaluated.

The ELLIS network will continue to grow and also will support activities such as student and faculty exchanges or joint ELLIS research programs. A number of European companies have already stated their support of this initiative, including Audi, AVL, Bayer, Bosch, DeepMind, Greiner, Porsche, Siemens as well as US companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and the Canadian start-up Element AI.

[1] OPVVV call for excellent teams.


About the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS)
Established on December 6th 2018 during NeurIPS 2018, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) is a pan-European scientific organization which focuses on research and the advancement of modern AI, which relies heavily on machine learning methods such as deep neural networks that allow computers to learn from data and experience.

Earlier this year in March 2019, ELLIS established 11 research programs spanning a broad set of areas within modern AI, involving over 100 European researchers.

For more on ELLIS visit

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