ROBUST ‘Trustworthy AI-based Systems for Sustainable Growth’ is a human-centered research program in artificial intelligence. This ten-year Long Term Program (LTP) brings together knowledge institutes, industry, governmental organizations, and societal partners to develop AI-based methods and tools designed to create social impact and promote sustainable growth.

With a total budget of €95 million, including €25 million from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), we are very grateful to our funders for this extraordinary opportunity to conduct collaborative research in AI that directly addresses globally significant technical and socio-technical challenges.


The research agenda of ROBUST focuses on the principles underlying trustworthy AI and machine learning in order to realize the potential of AI to create social impact. Six dimensions of trustworthy AI, namely accuracy, explainability, reliability, repeatability, resilience, and safety will guide the development of algorithms addressing specific objectives motivated by the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The ROBUST program focuses on attracting and retaining talent to work on the challenges of trustworthy AI, 170 PhD students over a ten-year period. In addition, ROBUST makes research and innovation a shared responsibility between diverse stakeholders. It practices learning-by-doing in the Dutch context, through use-inspired research, connections with startups and SMEs, and extensive knowledge-sharing efforts.

Participating in the ROBUST consortium are 17 knowledge institutes, 22 companies, and 12 societal organizations.


ROBUST extends ICAI’s mission and vision by adding 17 new labs to ICAI’s current ecosystem. Research agendas are co-designed by collaborating partners, and directly target technical, economic, and societal goals. Beyond their research outputs, labs create learning opportunities for bachelor and master students, foster career guidance and mobility for researchers, and participate in a wide variety of knowledge transfer activities.

Project Team

The project leader of the ROBUST program is Maarten de Rijke of the University of Amsterdam and ICAI. The leadership team members are Arie van Deursen (Delft University of Technology), Bram van Ginneken (RadboudUMC), Clarisa Sánchez Gutiérrez (University of Amsterdam), Bob Huisman (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), Nava Tintarev (Maastricht University), and Bert de Vries (Technical University Eindhoven).


At present (Summer 2022), ROBUST is in the final review phase. ROBUST is scheduled to launch in January 2023.

More information on the program will follow. For further information about ICAI and its future plans, please take a look at the ICAI building blocks.