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European Research Executive Agency
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© European Union, 2023
Facing the future

AI-driven research projects overcoming real-life challenges

Artificial Intelligence: use, prospects and challenges

A machine’s ability to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning, and creativity is what we call Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is constantly learning from examples, analysing data, processing it, and responding to it to achieve a specific goal.

AI has been part of our lives for more than 50 years, helping citizens, scientists, businesses, and public administrations. Some beneficial applications are web search engines, digital personal assistants, translation tools, navigation apps, cybersecurity systems, health diagnosis tools or environmental monitoring and emergency response systems.

Along with its many benefits, the development and use of this technology has its challenges and potential risks. The results produced by AI depend on how it is designed, what data it uses and how it is ultimately implemented. All these aspects can be intentionally or unintentionally biased. They can endanger fundamental rights and democracy, intellectual rights, the job market, transparency, and security.

Ensuring AI is central to the safe and ethical digital transformation of society is an EU priority.

Europe’s approach to AI

As part of its digital strategy, the EU is regulating AI to ensure better conditions for the development and use of this technology.

The use of artificial intelligence in the EU will be regulated by the AI Act – the world’s first comprehensive AI law. It aims to make AI development safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory, environmentally friendly, and with an innovation angle.

Together with the Coordinated Plan on AI, the AI Act outlines the European approach to AI, while also contributing to the European Green Deal.

AI in REA-managed projects

Since 2014, the number of projects managed by the European Research Executive Agency (REA) linked to AI has increased every year. Today, REA manages more than 1,000 projects with a focus on AI or that use AI tools. The projects received over €1.7 billion in EU funding under the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes.

Either by advancing technologies or by integrating AI into their work for optimisation purposes, these research initiatives are making use of AI while mitigating its risks. Some of the more recent projects identified are central to the ethical questions and challenges raised by the AI Act: health, environmental protection, democracy, security and education as well as aiming to provide impactful results in their fields and create a set of good practices in AI-related research.

EU-funded projects shifting the paradigm


The IVORY project is developing a framework for optimal integration of AI in road safety. The research touches on: human-vehicle interaction, novel scalable and equitable AI for proactive infrastructure safety management, and a sustainable knowledge sharing network on AI. The project also aims to provide efficient AI solutions for disadvantaged groups (i.e., vulnerable road users and users in low-to-middle-income countries).


Biases may arise at all stages of AI-based decision-making processes: data collection, algorithms, or the use of results. The NoBIAS project focuses on understanding the legal, social and technical challenges of bias in AI-decision making in order to develop fairness-aware algorithms, to automatically explain AI results, and to document the process for data provenance and transparency.


Generative AI can reproduce realistic images, videos and voice outputs. These have the potential to create convincing ‘deepfakes’ - which can spread disinformation and erode trust. The SOLARIS project explores the circulation of deepfakes and their impact on democratic processes. The project examines the positive aspects of generative AI models such as Generative Adversarial Networks through a co-creation process involving citizen science, raising awareness on global issues like climate change, gender equality and human migration.


The EITHOS project develops an observatory that will monitor and counter identity theft. The project aims to identify and address challenges that police authorities face regarding identity theft, and develop AI based tools to enhance their investigations. At the same time, it is informing citizens via awareness campaigns and by describing common identity theft methods.


The PhilHumans project is investigating novel AI-supported human-machine interaction for personal health services through a research training programme. The project is focusing on how applications can track a person's mental and physical state and spot problems early on; chatbots can display empathy and give advice on diagnoses and algorithms can guide robots to navigate safely around places. The later could be used in a home-assistant robot to help people with cognitive decline complete everyday tasks successfully.


Unprecedented forest fires exacerbated by climate change occurred in Europe in 2023, causing devastating environmental damage and loss of life. The SAFERS project uses advanced AI algorithms to generate risk maps and early warning systems that predict forest fire propagation based on forecasted weather and soil conditions and assesses economic losses and soil recovery. The services are integrated into an open platform and have already been implemented in Italy, France, Spain, and Greece.


The HECAT project team developed AI-enhanced algorithms embedded in casework dialogues around feasible work, skills, as well as job qualities, expectations and desires. It worked on methods of presenting complex labour market data to citizens, particularly insight into their probability of unemployment. This will assist public Employment Services and citizens make more knowledgeable decisions about quality and sustainable career choices, as well as job search, training, and education.


The transition to online learning exposed various challenges, including insufficient technology infrastructure, teacher training gaps, and limited student access to technology. To address these issues, the e-Diploma project aims to transform e-learning by incorporating emerging technologies including AI, virtual reality, interactive tools, chatbots and gamification into an e-learning platform. Using a co-creation approach, the project engages educators, students, families, and policymakers to develop inclusive, accessible and sustainable e-learning practices.



The projects selected for this informative webpage received EU funding and are managed by the European Research Executive Agency. There are numerous other EU-funded projects working in this field.

The 1,000 above mentioned projects specify Artificial Intelligence in their scope. The identification was made through a text search on project metadata (title, abstract, keywords) using more than fifty terms associated to AI. The search also included EU-funded projects from the Research Fund for Coal and Steel calls managed by REA.