EU project for EUR 6 million for sustainable regional development using AI at FIT CTU

25. 1. 2024Ivana Macnarová

At the beginning of this year, FIT CTU as the main coordinator received the prestigious European PoliRuralPlus grant for almost six million euros. 20 European partners are involved in the three-year project, prepared with other Czech partners such as CCSS and Plan4All. The main objective of the project is to improve and support the sustainability of regional development through the use of artificial intelligence working with spatial data.

The PoliRuralPlus project has addressed the current challenges associated with the integrated development of urban and rural areas, by using technological innovations, which can be used for example in the field of strategic planning. It has been focusing on the practical use of modern technologies to provide quality data in the preparation of Regional Action Plans.

The implementation of advanced technical solutions of AI, machine learning, geographic information systems, IoT technologies, and the introduction of tools such as Hub 4Everybody and Map Whiteboard (unique solutions for online collaborative work with interactive maps developed in previous projects by the key Czech partner of the Plan4All project) will bring local governments the opportunity to create and assess multiple scenarios based on which, for example, regional development plans will be prepared. The new algorithms and systems developed within the project will also enable better data acquisition, analysis, and linkage, for example, to support strategic planning. Responsibility for the selection, development, and testing of artificial intelligence components lies with the research team of the Data Science Laboratory of FIT CTU (DataLab)

As part of the project, the DataLab team will further develop the methods of spatiotemporal modeling and prediction with which they have succeeded in prestigious scientific competitions. These methods can be adapted, for example, to climate predictions or forecasts of extreme climatic events (floods, tornadoes), which has an impact on spatial planning in the modeling of the attractiveness of the area. An example of this would be support for planting planning for agricultural and forestry areas.

Another area of DataLab's research within the project is the use of modern large language models in the context of spatiotemporal reasoning. This will make it possible to specify the proposed measures in natural language. The output of the examined algorithms will contain not only the final decision but also additional information supporting the final decision.

DataLab's artificial intelligence methods will also improve the results of the work packages coordinated by foreign partners within the project.

"Research in DataLab is largely funded by industry. The PoliRuralPlus project will allow us to do more high-quality basic research and get more involved in international research consortia." says the head of DataLab, Mgr. Petr Šimánek.

The international consortium of the PoliRuralPlus project brings together partners from countries from Spain to Norway and from Greece to Ireland. FIT CTU has received a prestigious grant for funding research and innovation Horizon Europe in cooperation with the Digital Innovation Hubs Network Plan4All and the current PoliRuralPlus project, it builds on the results of the previous successful PoliRural project.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation program under grant agreement No 101136910.