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The prestigious European PoliRuralPlus grant worth almost six million euros was awarded to CTU Faculty of Information Technology (CTU FIT ) as the main coordinator at the beginning of this year. The three-year project, prepared with other Czech partners CCSS and Plan4All, involves 20 European partners. The main objective of the project is to improve and support the sustainability of regional development through the use of artificial intelligence working with spatial data.

The PoliRuralPlus project addresses the current challenges of integrated urban and rural development through technological innovations with applications such as strategic planning. It focuses on the practical application of modern technologies to provide quality input for the preparation of Regional Action Plans.

The implementation of advanced technical solutions of artificial intelligence, machine learning, geographic information systems, IoT technologies, and the introduction of tools such as Hub 4Everybody and Map Whiteboard (a unique solution for online collaborative work with interactive maps developed in previous projects by the key Czech partner of the Plan4All project) will bring local governments the ability to create and assess multiple scenarios, on the basis of which, for example, regional development plans will be prepared. The new algorithms and systems developed within the project will also enable better data acquisition, analysis and linkage, for example to support strategic planning. The responsibility for the selection, development and testing of the AI components lies with the research team of the Data Science Laboratory of CTU FIT (DataLab).

The DataLab team will further develop the spatio-temporal modelling and prediction methods that have been successful in prestigious scientific competitions. These methods can, for example, be adapted to climate predictions or forecasts of extreme weather events (floods, tornadoes), which has implications for land-use planning in modelling the attractiveness of an area. An example is the support of planting planning for agricultural and forestry areas.

Another area of DataLab research within the project is the use of modern large-scale language models in the context of spatio-temporal reasoning. This will make it possible to specify proposed measures in natural language. The output of the investigated algorithms will not only contain the final decision, but also additional information supporting the final decision.

DataLab's artificial intelligence methods will also improve the results of work packages coordinated by foreign partners within the project.

Head of the DataLab Mgr. Petr Šimánek says about the project. "Research at DataLab is largely funded by industry. The PoliRuralPlus project will allow us to do more high-quality basic research and to become more involved in international research consortia."

The international consortium of the PoliRuralPlus project brings together partners from countries ranging from Spain to Norway and from Greece to Ireland. FIT CTU has been awarded a prestigious Horizon Europe research and innovation funding grant in collaboration with the Digital Innovation Hubs Network Plan4All and with the current PoliRuralPlus project builds on the results of the previous successful PoliRural project.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101136910.

Contact person: 
Ivana Macnarová