Andrea Micheli, researcher within the FAIR ecosystem, won the 2023 ERC Starting Grant

Andrea Micheli, researcher of the Bruno Kessler Foundation who works within the Spoke 2 (Integrative AI) of FAIR – Future AI Research, won the ERC 2023 in the Starting Grant category, a prize dedicated to talented European researchers at the beginning of their career. Micheli has been rewarded with a 1.5 million € grant that he will use to develop the STEP-RL project in the next five years, together with a team of researchers and PhD students.

Head of the PSO (Planning, Scheduling and Optimization) Research Unit of the FBK Center for Digital Industry, Micheli deals with the development and technology transfer of decision support algorithms. The STEP-RL project falls precisely in the context of Temporal Planning, one of the most strategic fields of Artificial Intelligence, with applications in autonomous robotics, logistics, flexible production and in many other sectors.

“Planning is the ability to create a strategy in order to achieve a desired goal and it is one of fundamental forms of intelligence” says Andrea Micheli. “The Temporal Planning studies the automatic synthesis of strategies in case of significant temporal constraints. With STEP-RL we will study a new approach to the temporal planning that will be both independent from the application domain and efficient. Our idea is to use techniques that will lead the informatic systems to a constant improvement, enhancing their efficiency through self-adaptation. Our algorithms will improve gradually, adapting to emerging problems, just as an apprentice learns from the daily experience.”

The ERC Starting Grant is an annual prize that recognizes the value of young researchers and supports them in the early stages of their career, giving them the opportunity to carry out a research project independently and to build a new research team to work with.

This year ERC has awarded 400 Starting Grants, out of 2,696 proposals submitted by scientists from all over Europe in three main categories: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, Social Sciences & Humanities. The European Community will invest a total of 628 million € in these projects.

Photo credits: Andrea Franceschini