AI, Media & Democracy lab receives more than 2 million euros for human oriented AI research

The AI, Media & Democracy Lab – a collaboration between the UvA (project leader), the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI) – has been awarded a grant of 2.1 million euros as part of the Dutch Research Council’s (NWO) programme ‘Human-oriented AI for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust’. The programme will allow researchers in so-called ELSA Labs (‘Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects’)  to work together with media companies and cultural institutions to increase knowledge about the development and application of reliable, human-oriented AI. In total, the NWO will award five projects in this call, for a total of almost 11 million euros.

The AI, Media & Democracy ELSA Lab is one of the projects receiving a grant within the category Economy, Domestic Governance and Culture & Media. The Lab investigates the impact of AI on the democratic function of media. Together with journalists, media professionals, designers, citizens, fellow researchers and public and societal partners, the Lab develops and tests value-driven, human-centric AI applications, as well as ethical and legal frameworks for responsible use of AI. The aim of the Lab is to stimulate innovative AI applications that strengthen the democratic function of the media. The Lab collaborates with partners such as RTL, DPG Media, NPO, Sound and Vision, Media Perspectives, NEMO Kennislink, Waag Society, the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Dutch Media Authority, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht University, Cultural AI Lab, the Royal Library of the Netherlands, the BBC and the Bayrischer Rundfunk AI Lab.

‘This grant will enable us to explore alongside our partners how AI can play a role in the democratic and independent role of the media, the public sphere and for citizens seeking information. The AI, Media & Democracy Lab can contribute to independent innovation, but also help in forming a vision for the future of media in our digital society.’

– Prof. Dr Natali Helberger, university professor of Law and Digital Technology at the UvA and co-founder of the AI, Media & Democracy Lab.

Fundamental rights, human rights and support
The ELSA Labs are co-creative environments where interdisciplinary and interrelated research is conducted into some of the technological and economic issues that we are faced with as a society. The research funded by the NWO grant must must support the development of technological innovations that safeguard public values and constitutional rights, respect human rights – and strengthen these where possible – and that can count on public support.

About human-centred AI
As part of the Dutch Research Agenda, the NWO and the Dutch AI Coalition have launched the programme ‘Artificial Intelligence: Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for an inclusive society – towards an ecosystem of trust’. The programme promotes the development and application of reliable, human-centred AI. Public-private partnerships, government, industry, education and research institutions and civil society organisations will work together to accelerate national AI developments and connect existing initiatives. The national research agenda AIREA-NL and social and policy issues play an important role in this.

Read the NWO news item about all awards in this call:

Visit the AI, Media & Democracy Lab website:

Read more about the ELSA Labs:–democracy-lab-ontvangt-elsa-lab-status.html

Contact: Natali Helberger ( or Claes de Vreese (