The White House said today it has directed the Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to spend more than $1 billion over several years to establish 12 new research institutes for the development of artificial intelligence technologies and quantum information sciences (QIS).

The breakdown of the investment plan puts NSF at the helm of the AI efforts, with DoE responsible for the QIS research investments.

The results of both agency efforts, the administration said, will create “national R&D hubs for these critical industries of the future, spurring innovation, supporting regional economic growth, and training our next generation workforce.”

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On the AI front, NSF and other unnamed Federal partners will award $140 million over five years to seven NSF-led AI Research Institutes, the White House said.  NSF and partner agencies are also expected to make another $300 million of funding awards to the research institutes “in the coming years.” The administration puts NSF’s annual investments in AI activities at about $500 million annually.


The research institutes receiving the new funding will focus on issues including machine learning, synthetic manufacturing, precision agriculture, and forecasting predictions. The institutes will conduct research at universities including the University of Oklahoma at Norman, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of California at Davis, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

On the quantum side, DoE will provide up to $625 million of funding over five years to five centers operating at DoE National Laboratories at Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, Oak Ridge, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Those QIS centers will focus on subjects including networking, sensing, computing, and materials manufacturing.

In addition to the DoE investments, private sector firms and academia will provide another $300 million in contributions for the five QIS research centers, the White House said.

“The establishment of these new national AI and QIS institutes will not only accelerate discovery and innovation, but will also promote job creation and workforce development,” the White House said. “NSF’s AI Research Institutes and DOE’S QIS Research Centers will include a strong emphasis on training, education, and outreach to help Americans of all backgrounds, ages, and skill levels participate in our 21st-century economy.”

The newly announced investments in AI and QIS research fall in line with the Trump administration’s 2019 AI Executive Order that focuses on prioritizing Federal government investments in AI-driven projects, and development by Federal agencies of R&D budgets for AI to support their core missions.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.