Member States, experts, companies, and Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) met in this workshop on 23 January to discuss the characteristics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) testing and experimentation facilities for health.

The introduction of state-of-the-art AI methods, algorithms, and applications to the market, requires a previous experimentation and testing of such technologies in real-world environments. Such requirement is crucial for making products market-ready while at the same time ensuring compliance with safety standards and security by design.

To optimise investment and avoid duplication of efforts, the Commission proposes a limited number of world-class, large-scale reference AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities, available to all actors across Europe. These testing facilities may include regulatory sandboxes (i.e. areas where regulation is limited or favourable to testing new products and services) in selected areas.

Efficiency and impact of AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities should be optimised to boost development, validation, and deployment of AI-based solutions for the benefit of Europe. The exact number and model of facilities should be adapted to the needs of the health sector, and can have different sizes and locations. One given facility could be a network of physical locations. The intention is to make economies of scale, but it does not exclude a certain number of similar sites either, for instance to guarantee easy access to all regions in Europe. The regulatory environment might also be a factor to select the location/number of facilities.

More background information

Digital Europe Programme

A draft prioritisation of sectors and technologies for the future Digital Europe programme is reflected in a set of Draft Orientations. The next steps will be to refine the concepts and understand the needs and specificities of each sector. This will lead to a workprogramme aiming to maximise the impact of the Digital Europe Programme.

The workshop

This workshop on 23 January aimed to understand the needs and specificities of the health sector with respect to AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities, and to refine the concepts of such Facilities. The focus is on Reference testing and experimentation facilities of AI powered solutions or AI technologies, requiring major investments, and justifying central efforts to make economies of scale.

For this workshop, different types of participants were invited:

  • Experts in the application sectors or technology, who bring the relevant expertise for testing and experimenting state of the art AI technologies and AI-powered solutions to address the needs from Health. This includes experts representing the users perspective, but also the technology perspective, and other relevant considerations (economic, regulatory aspects, etc.).
  • Member States representatives, whether participating in the DEI (Digitising European Industry) AI high-level group who are working on the Coordinated Plan on AI, participating in the DEP Expert Group, or in charge of the manufacturing sector.

The specific outcome expected from the workshop is a report including the major inputs serving the work programme preparation.