European AI Fund summary of mid-term reporting

Grantees of the European AI Fund’s 2020 Open Call have shared narrative and financial updates on their work which offer insights into the opportunities and challenges for civil society organisations working to shape the future of AI in Europe. This document synthesises their findings for our funding partners and organises them in line with the European AI Fund’s Monitoring and Evaluation criteria:

CAPACITY AND KNOWLEDGE BUILDING THROUGH GRANTS: CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS DEVELOP EXPERTISE ON AI ISSUES
  • Organisations report increased expertise and understanding of policy agenda though highlight this is time consuming
  • Challenges include recruitment of people with expertise, formulating specific policy asks and identifying most effective points of intervention for advocacy
CAPACITY AND KNOWLEDGE BUILDING THROUGH GRANTS: ORGANISATIONS BUILD STRATEGIC CAPACITY IN ADVOCACY AND POLICY
  • Digital rights organisations have been effective in responding to a substantial and fast-moving policy agenda, particularly through coalition building on the AI Act though also at national and local levels
  • The reliance on standards as a mechanism in AI regulation and the framing around product safety has been a challenge to some organisations
CIVIL SOCIETY COLLABORATION: CSO’s in Europe are more and better connected to each other, as well as technical experts and relevant policy experts
  • Civil society has coordinated swiftly and effectively to build broad coalitions around securing fundamental rights and establishing AI red lines. There are strong levels of trust between partners
  • It remains challenging to draw in groups with diverse interests and levels of expertise
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS ARE MORE VISIBLE IN EUROPE
  • Civil society organisations have achieved tangible impact in changing legislation. They have established strong relationships with policymakers and are actively sought out for their view.

Each section begins with a summary of overall findings from the cohort in relation to the evaluation goals and some suggested lessons where relevant. For those who wish to know more detail, these are followed by highlights of activities from individual grantees.

You can read the report here.

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