The Paris higher education institution wants to attract the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) talent to strengthen an already thriving ecosystem


France is bidding to become a global leader in artificial intelligence research after teaming up with Google in a new project.

Google France has funded a new international academic and research chair – a professor role that will specialise in the field of AI – at École Polytechnique, a higher education institution just outside Paris.

It forms part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plan, under an artificial intelligence and visual computing chair, to strengthen the ecosystem of French excellence in AI by attracting international talent, training researchers and the innovators of tomorrow to the country.

AI, which involves research at the convergence of computer science and applied mathematics, is a key issue for future economies and societies, and a challenge for researchers.

Google, AI, artificial intelligence
Google France has partnered with École Polytechnique, in Paris, to enhance French artificial intelligence research

This requires laboratories, companies and administrations to adapt and strengthen their skills on these subjects.

France could become ‘champion’ of digital technologies

Google France managing director Sébastien Missoffe said: “France has long maintained a scientific culture of excellence and has contributed to the spread of knowledge around the world.

“It has all the assets to become a champion in the field of digital technologies, and we are determined to contribute to its success – by opening our research centre in artificial intelligence in Paris, the third in the world, and we wish to collaborate with the French scientific ecosystem.

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“The creation of this chair in collaboration with École Polytechnique will strengthen the French ecosystem and enable artificial intelligence to benefit everyone.”

The international academic and research chair aims to support the training of a new generation of talent in AI.

Students on the artificial intelligence and advanced visual computing master’s programme at École Polytechnique will benefit from support as it welcomes its first class in September this year.

Google France will offer students opportunities in its research internship schemes, while there will also be AI awareness seminars in ethics and law, as well as roundtable discussions and workshops.

Creating the digital professions of tomorrow

Jacques Biot, president of École Polytechnique, said: “This 25th chair reflects our institution’s ability to work in close interaction with the business world in order to advance knowledge for the benefit of society, and to foster the employability of our students.

“It is an additional piece in the powerful device deployed by us to support the development of artificial intelligence.”

The chairholder, Professor Marie-Paule Cani, added: “This chair will allow us to take advantage of the French excellence in research-based training and of dual skills, computer science and mathematics, to bring out a generation of young talents who will create the digital professions of tomorrow.”