Skip to main content


The AI Lab GEAR is a consortium of 3 research groups, which combine their complementary expertise in AI. Coming from different backgrounds (computer science, mathematics, economics, linguistics, physics, psychology and philosophy), reflecting the inherent interdisciplinary nature of AI and its intersection with other scientific domains, this makes the consortium one of the few truly interdisciplinary AI research labs in Europe. This interdisciplinarity is essential for tackling the more complex challenges in industry and society. Since its inception in 1983 (as the first AI lab on the European mainland), the lab has always been at the forefront of AI research. Today, it is still recognized worldwide for its groundbreaking research on Reinforcement Learning and Multi- Agent Systems (Ann Nowé), Computational Creativity (founding father of the field Geraint Wiggins) and the continuation of the work of lab founder Luc Steels on Agent-based Language Models (ERC grant of Bart de Boer). The lab has survived multiple AI winters and corresponding funding cuts after hype cycles such as the current one, in part because it keeps searching for new frontiers in which to do cutting-edge research and has a habit to perform agile research in diverse and interdisciplinary domains that can be applied to multiple (apparently unrelated) problems and application fields.

Vision and mission 
We envision a world in which decision and policy makers have a range of AI technologies to invest in to better the company and society and have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot expect from applying these technologies to their own context and with their own data. We see our mission towards this vision as two-fold. First and foremost, the AI Lab GEAR will help initiate and mature a maximum of useful AI technologies through research and demonstrate their performance on real-life inspired setups. It will interact and collaborate with companies and policymakers at different steps to ensure the relevancy of both the research and its envisioned innovation. Second, our group will improve the knowledge transfer and dissemination about these and other AI technologies among industry and policymakers. 

We believe that the current AI hype creates an environment in which businesses, governments and even non-AI academics are overwhelmed with AI technologies of variable quality and relevance. When investing in AI, what is most needed is clarity in how to distinguish good from bad decisions. As the first AI lab in the EU, we believe we have the expertise, authority, credibility, network and moral obligation to take on this enormous challenge. We aim to do so by researching AI technologies (in collaboration with businesses and governments) as well as providing guidance in the decision process. We believe that investing in this strategy will result in even more expertise, credibility and an even broader network, initiating a reinforcing cycle between the two sides of our mission. 

AI Lab
AI Lab
AI Lab


AI Lab
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 9 | 3rd floor
1050 Brussels

Head of Department
Prof. Dr. Ann Nowé

Business Developer
Leander Schietgat
[T] +32 2 629 12 41