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Centre for Artificial Intelligence

“The use of AI has the potential for far-reaching effects on almost every area of society. From development to deployment our efforts centre around people and from research to implementation, we are committed to an ethical approach. Come and join us on the journey!”

Professor Dr Thilo Stadelmann


Video: Responsible AI Innovation

The CAI in a Nutshell

Cutting-edge research, state-of-the-art technologies and talent – these ingredients allow us to create an environment that fosters innovation in human-centric and trustworthy artificial intelligence in Switzerland.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the driving forces behind innovation today, with an enormous impact on our daily lives. Computer vision technologies detect cancer cells and help blind people navigate through town, chatbots answer customer questions 24 hours a day, and self-driving cars are set to radically change our transport systems.

The ZHAW Centre for Artificial Intelligence (CAI) is a hub for excellence in applied AI research and application. Our mission is to advance human-centric and trustworthy AI research in Switzerland, thereby providing students with career opportunities in the AI sector, attracting young talent and addressing the great challenges of our time through innovative use of AI. We believe in the power of interdisciplinary collaboration and engaging in dialogue with the research community, with our students, and with our industry partners.

We offer expertise in the following areas:

When working on specific problems, our holistic approach to AI ensures the broad and long-term applicability of our solutions.

Professor Dr Thilo Stadelmann

Our vision and mission

Our vision

A society that is worth living in, increasingly supported by AI-driven tools of increased generality that place humans at the centre.

Our mission

AI provides tools that perform cognitive work. At the ZHAW Centre for Artificial Intelligence, we increase the trustworthiness and applicability of these tools by advancing the underlying methodology to the benefit of AI applications in all areas of society - one at a time. To fulfil our vision, we follow three core principles:

Excellence and partnership

  • We offer research and teaching excellence in machine learning and deep learning methodology
  • To reach our goals, we frequently cooperate with experts and organisations from other fields that share our values

Holistic approach

  • While our work to solve specific application challenges revolves around individual use cases, we consider and address the far-reaching ethical, societal and policy implications of AI in the context where they arise
  • While we strive for results, what matters most to us are the people we mentor and work with, be it our students, colleagues, collaborators, or the users of our technologies

Innovation and impact

  • We strive to produce research breakthroughs with instant applicability; our projects all share this dual innovation objective
  • We teach fundamentals and are invested in our students’ personal development to make them fit for a career
  • We support, and contribute to, the Swiss AI start-up scene and foster collaboration with Swiss SMEs and international partners

For students

Study at the CAI

We consider the scientific method to be the ideal development process for complex real-life tasks. The ZHAW Centre for Artificial Intelligence thus offers method-oriented courses in both the BSc and MSc programmes of the ZHAW School of Engineering. Our goal is to ensure that the latest advances in research and development are incorporated in our teaching, offering a unique range of courses to give our graduates a competitive edge when they enter the workforce. As one of the contributing activities, we offer you the opportunity to carry out one of the limited Research Project Theses in the final year of your studies. Initially in the BSc Computer Science. Such a thesis is characterized by a pronounced research character and an increased level of difficulty.

Join us now:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: We teach the fundamentals of machine learning, data mining, artificial intelligence and various specialisations in the focus areas of the CAI.
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science: You will acquire foundational knowledge in algorithms, machine learning, data mining, artificial intelligence and in the various specialisations in the focus areas of the CAI.
  • Master of Science in Engineering: We are active in the data science and computer science profiles with modules about machine learning, reinforcement learning and scientific work in the context of different issues relating to AI.
  • Doctoral programmes: In cooperation with our local and international academic partner universities, we host a growing number of PhD students with diverse engineering backgrounds.

Continuing education in AI

Do you have a background in engineering and would like to delve deeper into the subject and learn more about the state of the art in AI and machine learning as well as their real-life applications? In a practical setting, our senior staff are eager to share their expertise with the participants of our exciting continuing education courses.

Mentorship and student work programmes

We believe in mentoring as an integral part of professionalisation. Nobody attains excellence on their own. We care about sustainable professional career development in the area of artificial intelligence for our students. Working towards a common goal, we will take the time to support you individually and personally. We offer the opportunity to work with us part-time as research assistants to some of our Bachelor’s and Master’s as well as all of our doctoral students. If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us.

For partners

Industry collaboration and partnerships

Our research revolves around real-life cases, usually inspired by our industry partners. If you face a business challenge and cannot find an existing solution on the market, it might be the perfect opportunity for a joint research project with potential access to third-party funding. We have years of experience with R&D collaborations that were successfully implemented.

Are you driven by the wish to make a change for the greater good and also seek a more long-term engagement? So do we. We offer bespoke strategic partnerships around our research topics. Are you curious to experience and help to shape a high-impact programme for trustworthy AI in your field? Contact us and join our network of leading-edge researchers and digital transformation leaders in Switzerland.

Our services

Technology should always serve a purpose. As part of our research and innovation ecosystem, we can help you to identify relevant challenges in the field of AIs and brainstorm potential solutions with you. Our services:

Through bespoke innovation sprints with our external partners, we are able to identify your individual needs, and jointly develop ideas tailored to them. We subsequently prototype and test potential products to then deliver reliable and trustworthy solutions ready for implementation.

Get in touch with us!

Not a strategic partner yet? As a strategic partner you can help us found joint research initiatives or have members of staff work exclusively on your tasks.

Let’s discuss, let’s create!

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

ZHAW network and collaborations

We know from experience that the greatest developments can be achieved through cross-domain collaboration. Many of our past projects have been collaborative projects, as will be many of our future projects. If you are a colleague in need of machine learning and AI expertise, or are yourself an expert in the field, we invite you to join forces with us. We are interested in joint research and industry projects. Our strong ties to our internal partners at the ZHAW reflect our commitment to research excellence. Frequent partners and high-profile networks include:

You are a senior researcher, lecturer or professor at the ZHAW with a strong background in AI? You would like to work more closely with us and have a specific goal in mind that goes beyond the content of a single project and makes you a part of CAI?

We offer the opportunity to become an associate faculty member and therefore provide resources, access to infrastructure and involvement into the CAI life.

Contact us to receive our "Guidelines for Association of ZHAW Senior Research Staff with the CAI".

Our spin-offs

Do you have what you think might be a great idea for a start-up in the field of AI? We are passionate about fostering talent in the Swiss start-up scene. Get in touch with us! Students and young researchers are especially welcome.


Annual Report 2023

Archive Annual Reports

Annual Report 2022(PDF 28,9 MB)

Annual Report 2021(PDF 16,2 MB)