Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning currently attract great interest in society the media. As a research group at a publicly financed University we are duty-bound to take part in the public debate, to inform and to lead with our expertise. Independence and impartiality, as well as the constitutionally mandated freedom of research and teaching are prerequisites for this role. These pages thus provide information on who is financing our research, and how.
Philipp Hennig is a full-time tenured public servant of the State of Baden-Württemberg. He also holds an adjunct position as a scientific researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, for which he receives part-time remuneration according to a federal TVöD pay grade. Currently (as of 2020) he does not receive income or other financial contributions from private entities.
Research, even research of theoretical nature, costs money. To stay internationally competitive for the best ideas and brightest mines, we retain significant technical infrastructure. The largest budget item, however, are the salaries of PhD students (which, in the German academic system, are employees). Attracing and ensuring the necessary funding is a core task of the Chair. The list below explains who is financing our research. We thank all of the listed institutions for their trust and generosity. By the way: Research funding is not payed directly to the Professor, but managed for us by the central financial administration of the University.
The State Ministry of Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg provides us with an endowment. This includes investment funds, running expenses and the salaries of several research associates and the secretary.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research finances the joint research project ADIMEM (01IS18052B). The Chair is one of four partners in this consortium (the other groups are those of Jacob Macke (Project Coordination), Philipp Berens and Markus Oberländer).
Philipp Hennig is a Principal Investigator of the Cluster of Excellence Machine Learning; of the Competence Center for Machine Learning in Tübingen; and on the faculty of the International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems (IMPRS). Among many other measures, these large consortia include funding lines for individual research projects for which the project members can apply in an internal application processes (so called intramural funds). There are currently several of these projects in process in our group, typically in collaboration with other groups. Since all these consortia are funded from public (federal and state) sources, these projects, too, are effectively publicly funded.
Microsoft Research Cambridge is currently funding one PhD student in our group. The project was designed and proposed by Philipp Hennig, and selected in a competitive internal process at Microsoft. The funds are transferred by Microsoft to the University, which administers them (and employs the student). In exchange, Microsoft has received a non-exclusive license to any intellectual property arising from the project. There are no further contractual obligations vis-à-vis Microsoft, and Philipp Hennig receives no personal income or other personal financial incentives for this project.
In addition, the group currently hosts two external guests whose research is funded by industrial partners. One of them is an employee of Robert Bosch GmbH, the other is employed by ETAS GmbH (a subsidiary of Robert Bosch). No financial payments are made for these two projects, neither to the University of Tübingen nor Philipp Hennig personally.
In the past we received funding from the German Research Union (DFG), out of different funding lines and for several research projects. The DFG is a registered charity whose budget is financed by the tax-payer (2/3 by the federal government, 1/3 by the States).
The group was founded on a grant in the Emmy Noether Programme of the DFG (from April 2015 until December 2016. The funding ended with the establishment of the Max Planck Research Group because the two funding lines are not compatible).