Back in March, the UvA, together with Amsterdam City Council, announced plans to invest in an Artificial Intelligence (AI) hotspot at Amsterdam Science Park. In recent months, the feasibility of these plans has been investigated. The Executive Board has now taken the next step by approving the project proposal. The planned investment will be included in the framework letter, which will be submitted to the Central Works Council and the Central Student Council for approval in June.
Due to the increase in students, staff, PhD candidates and new partnerships, the existing building at Science Park 904 is no longer large enough to accommodate the Faculty of Science. Various temporary solutions are currently being implemented to accommodate this growth. The UvA aims to combine the need for new housing facilities for the Faculty of Science with the desire to collaborate intensively with other faculties, the business community and social partners in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
The total investment for the new building is estimated at €45 million. Funding will be provided under UvA’s Accommodations Plan. Of this amount, €29.9 million will be used to facilitate education and research by the Faculty of Science. The remaining investment of €15.1 million will be spent on development of the co-creation component, including the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI).
This investment will be paid for by external rental income and a €4 million grant from Amsterdam City Council, as well as a €2 million operational contribution that the UvA had already budgeted for in connection with the collaboration with SRON. The 2018 Accommodations Plan already included €10 million for accommodation for the Faculty of Science. The 2019 Accommodations Plan now includes the remaining amount of €35 million. The total investment is included in the framework letter, which forms part of the budget outline and which will be submitted to the Central Works Council and the Central Student Council for approval in June.
AI also offers academic disciplines other than IT new opportunities in the field of science. As a university that covers a wide range of fields, the UvA is ideally placed to play a pioneering role in research into the ethical and social aspects of AI, for example in the fields of citizenship & democracy, culture & identity and AI, health and well-being. This wide range of interrelated initiatives taking place at the UvA can be accommodated in the new building.
The Executive Board has instructed Real Estate Development to embark on the design phase. A project manager will shortly set up a design team and prepare the Schedule of Requirements. An outline design can then be created, after which an initial assessment of the associated building costs can take place in autumn 2018.