INSO Call For Proposals



INSO is an Academy of Finland funded (2019-23, 2 M€) profiling action that seeks to strengthen cooperation on the TAU strategy axis “society” – “technology”. The aim is to identify opportunities of Artificial Intelligence in making societal processes increasing just and efficient while simultaneously analyzing the dystopic threats and intentionally malicious use of such devices and systems.

In the period Oct 1st, 2019 – March 31st, 2020 INSO is funding six pilot projects with the objective of crystallizing research questions related to the interplay between social sciences and technology in the field of Artificial Intelligence as an approach to social challenges, in particular in how AI applications in this field should be technically specified so that the implementation produces the desired social effect and avoids dystopic threats.

INSO now launches a call for projects that move from defining research questions to providing answers to them.

This call is targeted for addressing the research questions that emerge from the pilot projects. In the INSO pilot project workshop, held in Jan 23rd, 2020, strong links between the research questions identified in different pilot projects were observed. Therefore, some of the current pilot projects may find it attractive to form larger consortia. Furthermore, including research groups not present in the current pilot projects may support addressing the identified research questions.

The proposals are expected to satisfy the following conditions:

– the project focuses on a research question identified in the pilot project stage, and related to a clearly articulated societal need

– the project seeks to develop either:

  • a) a set of functional specifications, derived from a societal need, and implement limited scale demonstration(s) – the functional specification should be understood as a “translation” of the societal objective to the language of AI technology; or
  • b) a causal model, or conceptual system, that describes the research question related to a societal objective explicitly in the language of AI technology

– the project analyzes the ambiguities of a) functional specifications or b) causal models that may cause possibly unwanted consequences

– the research group is balanced (shows expertise both in both human and technological sciences)

The pilot projects were expected to tackle at least three of the following research questions (RQ) in the context of the identified societal need:

1. What is the most positive result of the service?

2. What is the dystopia of this service?

3. Which are the inherent societal / ethical / political / technological premises?

4. Which tensions and contradictions are there between the premises and societal needs?

5. How the implementation and use of the system is to be controlled for accurate address on societal need and high-quality technological implementation?

6. Which are the roles when implementing and operating the AI solution?

7. Which alternative technological solutions exist for this societal need? Which are the criteria to choose between them?

8. What kind of ethical/societal/political data selection and preprocessing issues are raised?

9. How to translate the societal need to a technological objective guiding the implementation process?

10. Which are the impacts of system uncertainties?

These questions provide a framework when analysing the effects of ambiguities in functional specifications or causal models, and their consequences in the proposed project.

The pilot projects are expected to run approximately from Apr 1st, 2020 toDec 31st, 2021 and their full cost budget is expected to be € 250.000 – 300.000, almost entirely on personnel costs. In total, a purse of approximately € 540.000 will be allocated to this call. The project would thus fund, e.g. one full-time researcher for the duration of the project. As the projects are expected to involve at least three research groups, the INSO project should be seen as a project integrating research activities going on already at the participating groups.

The pilot project proposals should be written in accordance with the following instructions:

– the definition of the societal need addressed (max 1 page)

– the research question identified in the pilot project stage (max 10 lines)

– motivation for the research question, (max 2 pages)

– description of research groups involved (max 1/2 page per group)

  • expertise
  • role in the project
  • information about other research projects that can support the objectives of the proposed project

– project plan (max 5 pages), consisting of o

  • overall logic how the research question is to be solved (max 1/2 page)
  • overall logic on how the research groups work together (max 1 page)
  • work packages to organize the activities
    • schedule
    • distribution of work to WPs
    • deliverables
  • connection to the other projects carried out by the research groups
    • what input is expected from the other projects
    • what output the other projects expect from the proposed project

– budget (full overheaded costs)

The proposal must not exceed 12 pages. The proposals should be sent to Tuomas Lammi ( no later than March 2nd 2020. The pilot projects that are the basis for the proposed project must provide their final report (PowerPoint template), no later than March 10th, 2020: Tampere, Feb 5th, 2020 INSO board