Preserving linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe and promoting technological excellence and leadership
In January 2023, the entry into force of the Digital Decade Policy Programme 2030 established a new implementation mechanism for multi-country projects, i.e., large-scale initiatives harnessing the collective resources of Member States and supporting the Union’s digital transformation. This new instrument is the EDIC or European Digital Infrastructure Consortium.
EDICs have been inspired by the provisions on ERICs or European Research Innovation Consortia, but extend them beyond the research remit. They aim to provide a legal framework to invest in multi-country projects: EDICs will help Member States coordinate funding for these projects and streamline their set-up and implementation in a flexible and efficient way. EDICs will also ensure common standards and interoperability.
For more information on what an EDIC is and what its main features are, please have a look at our News section.
The Alliance for Language Technologies
One of the EDICs under preparation is the ALT-EDIC, the Alliance for Language Technologies. Coordinated by France, this initiative currently brings together twenty Member States, fifteen as fully-fledged members and five as observers.
Its mission is to develop a common European infrastructure in Language Technologies to achieve digital sovereignty in the domain and uphold Europe’s linguistic diversity and cultural richness.
At present, the ALT-EDIC’s action plan focuses on six thematic areas:
develop a central platform for European language resources and collect high-quality data sets in line with the LDS or past efforts, such as ELG or ELRC-SHARE, with a dedicated focus on the creation of strategic data for low-resource languages.
gather open-source models, fine-tune, reduce and optimise them for use in European SMEs, and provide methodologies for their evaluation, certification and normalisation.
launch new open-source models (including such with multimodal capabilities), establish an efficient and accessible coordination for the EuroHPC computer to facilitate its access through EU companies and industries, and provide support for the development of new models to public and private experts.
provide methodologies to address potential discrimination and bias introduced by natural language processing models and supporting institutions in their investment in Language Technologies.
develop a start-up incubator for the businesses participating in the EDIC, promote the relationships between industry and research, act as a key player of the European coordinated plan on AI, bring together and strengthen the LT community, provide dedicated support to institutions for investing in LT, and develop cultural programmes based on AI for language.
prepare the legal and economic structuring of the future EDIC, establish governance and structures of it, draft the statutes and operational plan and coordinate consortium members and project stakeholders.
LDS and ALT-EDIC Relationship
The LDS and ALT-EDIC are connected initiatives, as they share more than just the common aim of contributing to advancing Europe's digital autonomy and technical sovereignty.
Despite some similarities, the LDS and ALT-EDIC exhibit differences, especially concerning the main focus, management, leadership and main reference framework.