AI Lab receives 40 million kroner

NTNU and SpareBank 1 SMN enter into a historic collaboration on artificial intelligence. The partnership agreement entails SpareBank 1 SMN becoming a full partner in the AI Lab, with an annual allocation of 8 million kroner for AI research over the next five years.

bilde av 3 personer, fra venstre konsernsjef Jan Frode J
Konsernsjef Jan-Frode Janson, konsernsjef for teknologi og utvikling Astrid Undheim

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-This is like Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, May 17th, and birthday all at once, researcher Inga Strümke said when the agreement was announced.

The funds over the next five years will be allocated to three areas:

  1. Responsible AI in a societal perspective.
  1. Prevention of economic crime.
  1. Competence development and continuing education for businesses in Central Norway.

A historically significant initiative

–This is a historic initiative for the bank. The funds are directed towards scientists that delivers world-class research in a field facing a technological revolution. We are entering the partnership with a commitment on leadership and data. We are fully committed,” emphasized CEO Jan-Frode Janson of SpareBank 1 SMN.

CTO Astrid Undheim, who helped establish the AI Lab in 2017, also expressed satisfaction with the agreement. She described the collaboration as a significant contribution to building and strengthening the competitive advantage for Norwegian businesses in Central Norway.


NTNU was represented by its rector, pro-rector, dean, department head, and members of the AI community. Rector Tor Grande was pleased with the agreement, emphasizing that collaboration with the outside world is a crucial part of NTNU’s DNA.

–This is a solid step, also for the local business community, he said.

– I’m absolutely thrilled today. This is so important to us. Thank you so much to SpareBank 1. I want to thank you for believing in us at NTNU, said dean and chairman of the AI Lab, Ingrid Schjølberg.

Heri Ramampiaro, who serves as both department head and director of the AI Lab, had the following to say:

–We depend on collaboration with the business community to test our research in practice. This means a lot to us, he exclaimed.

Students at Gløshaugen  

Chief Communication and Brand Officer Rolf Jarle Brøske led the session where the collaboration agreement was announced. He made no secret of his excitement about discussing the future of artificial intelligence with researcher Inga Strümke.

–This is absolutely fantastic. It shows an understanding that we need to invest to stay competitive. With AI we have an advanced system that doesn’t think like a human; we must ensure it is safe,” said Inga Strümke. She emphasized that this was not a race for developing AI fastest, but a goal to determine how artificial intelligence ought to shape our society.

–Will you be here in five years?” Brøske asked Strümke, hinting that there would certainly be no shortage of job offers.

–I moved back to Trondheim because of Gløshaugen. It’s because of the talented master’s and doctoral students that I’m here, I’ll stay here said Inga.