Career News

Petra Ahrweiler and Elisabeth André secure funding from Volkswagen Foundation for artificial intelligence project

29.3.2021 | The project aims to improve AI technologies for social welfare systems.
Bild vergrößern
(© unsplash / Franki Chamaki)

Two AcademiaNet members, Profs Petra Ahrweiler and Elisabeth André, are part of the core principal investigator team behind the project AI FORA, which has recently secured €1.5 million in funding from Volkswagen Foundation.

AI FORA (Artificial Intelligence for Assessment) is a project aimed at investigating the artificial intelligence algorithms that are increasingly being used to assess citizen profiles and distribute public services, such as unemployment benefits, retirement pay and public health insurance. The algorithms for example make decisions on whether or not a benefit claim is deemed fraudulent and whether or not a claimant is found to be deserving or in need. AI FORA sets out to combine sociological and computer science expertise to evaluate the current systems and develop better and more responsible technology.

Prof Ahrweiler is Professor of Sociology of Technology and Innovation, Social Simulation at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, and is the scientific and administrative project coordinator of AI FORA. Her career has been based mainly in Germany but she has also held positions at University College Dublin in Ireland and at MIT in the USA.

Prof André is Professor of Computer Science and Chair for Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence at the University of Augsburg in Germany. In the beginning of the year, she was awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize, along with fellow AcademiaNet members, Prof Veronika Eyring and Prof Katherina Harvati-Papatheodorou.

The project is scheduled to run for three to four years and is one of eight interdisciplinary projects funded under Volkswagen Foundation’s funding initiative “Artificial Intelligence and the Society of the Future.”   (© AcademiaNet)

More information


  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.


  1. Sandra Luber is the 2021 recipient of the Coblentz Award

    The theoretician, who develops novel computational methods in absorption and vibrational spectroscopy, is among only a handful of women to win since 1964.

  2. Maria Leptin to become new President of the European Research Council

    The developmental biologist only recently stepped down from her role as Director of EMBO.

  3. Elizabeth von Hauff becomes Director of the Fraunhofer FEP Institute

    The physicist, who specialises in solar power and energy conversion, has also been given a professorship at the Dresden University of Technology.

  4. Tatjana Parac-Vogt: ‘In my group, we have a few babies. I mean, why not?’

    Women shouldn’t feel bad about having children, even if they haven’t landed a permanent position yet, says Professor Tatjana N. Parac-Vogt. We spoke to the bioinorganic chemist from KU Leuven about creating a more inclusive academic culture, the importance of mentorship and the new will at universities to solve academia’s gender parity problem.

  5. The Global Research Council elects Katja Becker as Chair

    The physician and biochemist is also the current President of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Academia Net