Weizmann Institute, Mohamed Bin Zayed University launch joint AI program

Joint research projects by teams from the two institutions will form the core of the program.

MoU signed between UAE's Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, September 12, 2020. (photo credit: WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE)
MoU signed between UAE's Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, September 12, 2020.
(photo credit: WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE)
The United Arab Emirates’ Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) and the Weizmann Institute of Science launched a joint program for artificial intelligence research on Wednesday, after signing a memorandum of understanding last September.
The program will draw on the combined expertise of the two institutions to carry out basic and applied research in machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, computational biology, neural sciences and more.
Joint research projects by teams from the two institutions will form the core of the program, along with joint training programs, visits, AI conferences and workshops, and student and staff exchange programs. The two institutions are also seeking to recruit highly qualified researchers and staff to support and facilitate the program's mission.
The new agreement was signed during a virtual ceremony by Weizmann president Prof. Alon Chen and MBZUAI president Prof. Dr. Eric Xing.
“The collaboration between MBZUAI and WIS aligns with our leadership’s vision of extending and strengthening bridges of collaboration in the service of our nation and humanity, and seeks to enable socio-economic progress through AI innovation," said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and chairman of the MBZUAI Board of Trustees, during the ceremony.
"We are confident that partnerships that leverage talent, technological and research capabilities will deliver breakthroughs in AI that will empower the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and contribute towards finding solutions for the greatest challenges we face as an international community – such as COVID-19, food security, and more," he said. "MBZUAI is proud to work with leading institutes such as the Weizmann Institute of Science to bring about a future built on knowledge, sustainability and resilience."
“The implications of AI are vast, and will affect every aspect of our lives," said Chen. "Through the WIS-MBZUAI Institute for Artificial Intelligence, we are bringing together some of the greatest minds in the fields of AI and natural and exact sciences, with the ambition of extending boundaries and empowering our scientists with access to exceptional resources. Together we will advance AI, discovering new means of leveraging the immense possibilities of this diverse and exciting technology for the benefit of humanity.”
“Collaborative efforts among leaders in the field of AI will enable us to achieve significant progress," said Xing. "The establishment of the AI program further strengthens our partnership with the Weizmann Institute, laying the foundation to enhance the global AI ecosystem and further advance in areas of science, technology and higher education. This will provide our students and faculty with access to world-class resources beyond our own university, fostering a culture of international partnership and knowledge-sharing.”

THE MOU signed between the two institutions was the first signed between Israeli and UAE higher education bodies, UAE state news agency WAM said in September.
The memorandum covers a range of opportunities for collaboration between the two institutions, including student and postdoctoral-fellow exchange programs, conferences and seminars, various forms of exchange between researchers, sharing of computing resources and the establishment of a joint virtual institute for artificial intelligence.
The collaboration will advance the Weizmann Institute’s flagship project, the Artificial Intelligence Enterprise for Scientific Discovery, which will build on its prominence in mathematics and computer science and is meant to activate the potential of AI to speed up knowledge acquisition in data-heavy endeavors such as biomedicine, environmental research, chemistry and astrophysics.
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot is one of the world’s top-ranked multidisciplinary research institutions, offering master’s and doctoral-level degrees across five faculties. It is known for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences.
Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence was founded in 2019 and is a graduate-level, research-based academic institution located in Abu Dhabi. Named for the UAE crown prince, the university is part of a broader national strategy to make the Emirates a leader in artificial intelligence.
Tobias Siegal and Reuters contributed to this report.