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Human-machine teaming will play an increasingly important role in the defence and security domain. Think of robots that dismantle drug labs or systems that collect better intelligence. The ‘Collaboration between humans and (semi-)autonomous systems (KIC)’ call focuses on the further development of (semi-)autonomous systems, their deployment in society, and their collaboration with humans. A minimum of €525,000 and a maximum of €1,750,000 can be requested from NWO funding for an application. The lead time is a maximum of 6 years.

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Aim of the call

The aim of this call is to encourage interdisciplinary research that helps to further develop collaboration between humans and (semi-)autonomous systems. In this field, technological and social innovation go hand in hand. This call addresses societal and organisational aspects, the development of technology and the improvement of human-machine teaming. There is a need to further develop AI and (semi-)autonomous systems with an additional focus on the robustness and optimisation of such systems and their deployment. Particular attention will be paid to the successful transition to the use of (semi-)autonomous systems by government organisations in the defence and security domain, for example in the performance of primary tasks.

It is essential to address societal aspects – including ethical, legal and behavioural issues – at an early stage so they can be taken into account in the design process and ultimately used by organisations. Knowledge of technology adoption processes are particularly relevant in this context. The challenges described also require the further development of system sensors, as well as the development of technology and the implementation of AI.

Research proposal

Research proposals should focus on one of the following research areas: (1) reliability & resilience; (2) security; (3) robustness. Each research proposal must integrate research on the following universal aspects: human-machine teaming; the societal and organisational aspects; the development of AI; and the development of technology.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

The interdisciplinary research in this call focuses on collaboration between humans and (semi-)autonomous systems in the (civil) security domain, with an emphasis on the further development of and research on physical robots and (semi-)autonomous systems. The development of and research on purely digital (semi-) autonomous systems is outside the scope of this call. In the context of the defence and security domain, proposals should include concrete use cases related to the domain in which the research takes place, with the aim of implementing the research results.

Researchers from the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, as well as researchers working at universities of applied sciences, are invited to submit a joint project proposal for this call. To facilitate this, NWO will organise a matchmaking meeting after the call has been published.

KIC seeks technological and economic oppurtunities

The NWO research programme Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) focuses on groundbreaking innovative solutions with societal and economic impact. Companies, knowledge institutions and governments jointly invest in the commercial application of knowledge to address major societal challenges with smart technologies. In this way, both jobs and income can be secured for the future. This is established in the KIC 2020-2023, which is linked to the Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy of the Dutch government. NWO brings together companies and knowledge institutions and funds groundbreaking research based on their innovative, high-impact research proposals.

To the call for proposals

Calls News Security Technology Agenda Security Security Artificial Intelligence Advanced Instrumentation Smart Industry