The European Lighthouse of AI for Sustainability (ELIAS) calls for a 1st round of proposals for the creation of ELIAS nodes fostering European Leadership in Innovation with AI and Science with close ties to ELLIS, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems. ELIAS nodes will recognize and accelerate locally developed AI and science-based innovation while serving as local nodes of the ELIAS Alliance, a pan-European AI-preneurial network that aims at boosting academic education around the open source development of foundation models with a network of incubators and startups for European value creation.

Deadline to submit your proposal is

Tuesday, July 30th, 2024 (midnight CEST).


Get in touch with ELIAS Coordinator Nina Peters ( to receive access to the application form. 

The ELIAS Alliance seeks to attract and connect talent between academia and business, and the nodes can assist researchers in their entrepreneurial endeavors and in contributing to the development of open source foundation models. Furthermore, we will establish a European MSc Graduation Project Program and an annual Sciencepreneur Meeting. It will improve access to entrepreneurial programs, foster knowledge exchange, and develop thought leadership for value creation with AI “made in Europe”.

Application process

The following is the summary of the points outlined in the application form.

    To receive access to the application form you are asked to get in touch with ELIAS Coordinator Nina Peters (

    1. Participating organizations and team composition

    • List all organizations (e.g. higher-ed institutes, industry partners, funding bodies) supporting your ELIAS node and indicate how they support your node. Provide a physical address of the node and the amount of square meters that are  available for the node as coworking/lecturing space. Please include pictures as supplementary material showing the space and use them to indicate how you plan to support the physical visibility of the node.
    • Provide a support letter from each organization signed by a C-level representative.
    • Specify the head of the ELIAS node.
    • Name the lead administrative coordinator of the node who will be responsible for the communication between the nodes across the ELIAS Alliance, and explain how you will coordinate and decide on the activities of the node across all participating organizations. 
    • Nominate up to ten (including the head of the node) ELIAS fellows in your node who qualify as role models for sciencepreneurship. Each nominated candidate needs to provide a separate one-pager describing their track record of how they inspire and support students in academia to pursue an entrepreneurial career. 
    • List all further members you want to include in the node (+ potential roles).

    2. Vision for your node and the alliance

    • Founding partners of the ELIAS Alliance should be proactive and enthusiastic about building the alliance. Provide a concise summary of your vision for the node and the collaborative efforts with the other alliance partners.

    3. Entrepreneurial track record and planned activities

    • Describe your existing technology transfer ecosystem exemplifying your spin-offs, your collaborations with startups, industry, and business schools, your sciencepreneurial education and team building efforts, and your financial support for early stage transfer projects. Explain how you want to leverage these activities for the node, what additional activities you are planning, and how you envision the coordinating role and added value created by the node

    4. Open Source AI research

    • Large AI foundation models are increasingly becoming a cornerstone of AI product development, yet they are predominantly created outside of academic settings. The ELIAS Alliance cooperates closely with open source foundation model communities to enhance academic students’ access to this leading technology. Additionally, the alliance aims at building a network of incubators and startups that are particularly experienced with all facets of product development related to foundation models. Please describe how you are supporting and participating in building open source foundation models documented by scientific papers and research grant.
    • How do you leverage foundation models for startups and value creation.

      5. Connection to ELLIS

      • ELIAS is part of the ELLIS initiative. Please describe your existing connection to the ELLIS/ELIAS community and how you plan to integrate the ELIAS node into this community effort.

      6. Late submission of additional material

      • Since it might not be possible to fully address all points of the proposal until this short deadline, we offer the possibility to specify in the proposal what additional items (documents, signatures, etc) you think you can provide at a later date. You are asked to name the items and the anticipated date of submission.

      Guidelines for evaluation 

      Your proposal will be reviewed by a diverse team of international entrepreneurs and scholars based on your combined track record in entrepreneurship and AI research excellence and the level of commitment documented in your application, taking into account the following criteria:

      • ELIAS nodes need to have a physical location, i.e. a well specified co-working space dedicated to entrepreneurial activities and agreement to support a joint co-branding. Attractive space with clear commitment to co-branding contributes to a strong application.
      • ELIAS nodes have a convincing program for running sciencepreneurial courses in academia and support transfer projects. Ideally, students can earn credit points for these courses that count towards their BSc/MSc/PhD degrees. 
      • ELIAS nodes are supporting and ideally participating in building open source foundation models. In particular, they offer an educational program that allows students to acquire hands-on experience with building large models. 
      • ELIAS nodes partner with a business school and actively support team building with complementary skills (e.g. tech + business).
      • ELIAS nodes have compelling collaborations with (a) startups and (b) industry. 
      • The nomination of the head of the ELIAS node as an ELIAS fellow is mandatory and needs to be successful. 
      • Ideally most nominations of ELIAS fellows are successful and the leadership of ELIAS nodes consist of a strong and diverse team combining different backgrounds and experiences.
      • ELIAS nodes are managed by a dedicated lead administrative coordinator ideally with experience in the coordination of entrepreneurial activities. 

      Have Questions?

      If you have any questions, please feel free to contact: