The Brazilian government has announced the launch of a national innovation network focused on artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of increasing the production capacity and competitiveness of local companies.
Described as the largest in the country, the network is the result of the cooperation between the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MCTI) and the Brazilian Industrial Research and Innovation Company (EMBRAPII).
An investment of 70 million reais (US$ 12 million) deriving from government incentives will go towards the MCTI/EMBRAPII network in the next five years, of which 20 million reais (US$ 3.5 million) will be focused on AI applied to the automotive and agribusiness sectors. The model provides for equal contributions from the private sector, which could double the value of individual projects.
The goal of the network is to encourage use of advanced technologies in various productive sectors, through the provision of non-refundable resources, as well as access to an innovation ecosystem with complementary technological skills.
A network of 17 research centers with infrastructure and skilled professionals in areas such as machine learning, Internet of Things, Big Data, to support the industry to innovate is also part of the initiative.
Part of the resources to be provided under the network will be used to develop IA competences of the research centers and to strengthen national research, development and innovation capabilities in the field. These research centers are also expected to intensify international exchange of knowledge and reciprocal collaboration with the main AI networks in the world, particularly in Europe, Israel and North America.
Projects by small companies and startups, especially those engaged in high tech projects, are also within the scope of the network. According to EMBRAPII, non-refundable funding and technical-scientific support will be offered throughout the development cycle of the projects until the product or service hits the market.
The Network will also aim to promote the cooperative development of projects between different organization in the private sector. Such cooperation can be carried out between companies that belong to the same production chain, to generate new products and processes that benefit the entire sector.
Cooperation will also be promoted within the Network between startups and incumbents who are seeking to innovate in a particular business model which could be still unusual in Brazil. Collaborative work could also take place among competitors, a model in which they share costs and risks of the development of a particular technology, but then apply the technology according to their own individual strategies.