IBM and IE University join forces to promote artificial intelligence hub in Madrid

The creation of the Pier 17 programme will bring experts from the multinational company to the university faculty

IBM and IE University have reached an agreement in which they want to consolidate Madrid as one of the main artificial intelligence hubs in Europe. The initiative will be achieved through the launch of Pier 17, a programme that aspires to generate new disruptive technology ideas and advanced technology AI prototypes. This programme involving IBM professionals will be based on the "learning by making AI" concept.

AI experts from the American multinational will join the IE University faculty of associate professors and participate in identifying the lecturers who will take part in the Educating AI thinkers and Tech-makers programme. IBM will also make its IBM Academic Initiative platform available to lecturers and students at this institution, which will give them access to its resources and technology.

Methodology designed by NASA
The agreement includes the creation of a TRL (technology readiness levels) for AI certification that will accredit the degree including the technology projects undertaken by students. This methodology – designed by NASA and backed by the European Commission – has become an international standard.

Students at the IE School of Technology will have access to the university's AI lab – equipped with IBM technology – and will be able to do work experience in companies around the world, something that will help them attain four of the nine TRLs,  with prototypes designed to solve major business challenges. Experts from the two institutions will make up the academic board that will grant this certification.

International networking
To afford more visibility to the initiative and consolidate Madrid on the global AI scene, IBM and IE University have also implemented monthly networking meetings that have been held since 10 February at IE Tower, the university's new head office in the capital. Tech companies, investors, international researchers and startups from around the world working in AI will present ideas at different stages of development.

To achieve a more rounded result, the agreement includes the creation of a "global mirror" accelerator and an "international call for startups in AI and quantum". The accelerator will connect early AI technology application stages of student projects to IBM's advanced AI technology stages. It will also grant students access to IBM and IE University's partner ecosystem. As part of the acceleration process, IBM is making its StartUp with IBM programme available to IE University so that selected companies can use IBM technology free of charge for educational and research purposes.

Photo: IE University