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Marianne Graves Petersen and Ira Assent receive DKK 6.2 million from DFF to design faithful interactive explanations for AI

Congratulations to Professors Marianne Graves Petersen and Ira Assent, who have received DKK 6.2 million from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF) for their research project 'Faithful Explainable AI: Designing Comprehensive Interactive Explanations for Artificial Intelligence'.

Professors Marianne Graves Petersen and Ira Assent. Photo by Søren Kjeldgaard.

In recent years, the fields of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have contributed to impressive breakthroughs, increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives and professional environments. EU legislation has granted us the "right to explanation" for AI-based systems affecting citizens. But what constitutes a good explanation?

In this research project, Marianne and Ira start with the premise that explanations should be both truthful and understandable, meaning they should be meaningful and practical for individuals affected by AI-based systems, while remaining faithful to the models and algorithms they are based on. The project will focus on the use of artificial intelligence in journalism and education, collaborating with practitioners and international researchers in these fields. The ambition is to establish a language that enables people to communicate about artificial intelligence, whether they are citizens, students, journalists, or other specialists. Ultimately, they will develop techniques that can integrate understandable explanations of AI into the systems used in both our daily lives and professional endeavors.

In 2024, the Independent Research Fund Denmark has allocated DKK 318 million to 52 researchers under the DFF-Research Project2 initiative. These grants provide excellent researchers with the opportunity to pursue their most innovative ideas and promote groundbreaking Danish research. There is fierce competition for funding from all parts of the scientific world, and only about 9% of applicants receive grants.

Facts: DFF-Research Project2

  • Each year, the five academic councils of the Danish Independent Research Fund undertake the task of selecting the best and most groundbreaking research projects. The councils are composed of 75 recognized researchers with high academic expertise.
  • A total of 570 researchers applied for the DFF-Research Project2 initiative.
  • 52 applicants have been awarded grants totaling DKK 318 million. This results in an overall success rate of 9 percent, considering both the amount and number of applications.
  • DFF-Research Project2 typically runs for up to 4.5 years and involves multiple researchers (including postdoctoral candidates and Ph.D. students) with a funding range between DKK 2 and 4.3 million, excluding overhead costs.
  • A DFF-Research Project2 is often characterized by being a coordinated and binding collaboration, and applicants are required to have significant, independent research experience at a high international level.

Click here to see a list of all DFF grants awarded in 2024 [in Danish].