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 €87 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, with 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, 19 co-funding industrial partners, and 15 collaborating partners. 


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.

Leadership Team

The ROBUST management board is comprised of the project leader and scientific director Maarten de Rijke, business development and impact director Esther Smit, and operations director Susan Blackburn, all of the University of Amsterdam and ICAI.

The program committee 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).

Arie van Deursen

Delft University of Technology

Bert de Vries

Eindhoven University of Technology

Bob Huisman

NS (Dutch Railways)

Bram van Ginneken


Clarisa Sánchez Gutiérrez

University of Amsterdam

Esther Smit

University of Amsterdam

Maarten de Rijke

University of Amsterdam

Nava Tintarev

Maastricht University


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