The First University of St. Gallen Grand Challenge: The EU A.I. Act


The idea of the Grand Challenge goes back to the DARPA Robotics Challenge of 2015 in L.A. where I was present – and hugely impressed.

-- Thomas Burri, Founder of the Grand Challenge

The  First University of St. Gallen Grand Challenge: The EU A.I. Act 2023 was modeled on an approach common in the engineering sciences where public competitions are organized to solve real-world problems through engineering and technology. In a similar vein, the Grand Challenge confronted Teams with a series of real-world A.I. applications provided by technology companies. The Teams of the Grand Challenge faced a social science task, though, namely, to assess the A.I. applications under the EU's new A.I. Act. The Team coming up with the most convincing A.I. assessments would win the prize of 100'000 CHF. The Final of the Grand Challenge took place on 18-19 July 2023 at Square, University of St. Gallen. Thomas Burri, Founder of the Grand Challenge, organized it together with Viktoriya Zakrevskaya, executive manager of the Grand Challenge. Read more here …


From November 2022 …


Eleven international teams of experts

Team AI in the Public Interest (AIPI) 

We are an interdisciplinary team that includes two legal academics, a law partner, a technology policy expert, a computer science academic, and an industry AI research scientist. Each of us has deep expertise in evaluating and designing machine learning and AI systems to meet legal and ethical requirements. We are motivated by a shared commitment to ensuring that technology serves the public good and an interest in investigating whether and how legal and regulatory regimes like the EU AI Act can achieve that goal. 


Team AI JFaccs 

Team AI JFaccs is interested in how the regulation of AI can manage tensions between economic interests and the responsible handling of new technologies with regards to individual users and society. The team, based in Berlin, Germany, includes scholars of tech ethics and law, AI developers, and AI startup founders.


Jesse Dinneen – Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Team Leader)

Sascha Donner – Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Cäcilia Zirn – EVANA

Azad Abad – EVANA

Florian Loher – EVANA

Olga Batura

Team Compl-AI-ance 

Team Compl-AI-ance comprises experts in machine learning, law, economics, linguistics, data science, statistics, mathematics, and cybersecurity. We are passionate about ensuring the ethical use of artificial intelligence. Our team is a consortium of one public research Institute, ICoSys (HEIA-FR), and two startups active in the field of Artificial Intelligence: Neur.on AI Solutions Ltd, which builds AI solutions for the legal, financial, and insurance industry, and CertX AG, a certification and inspection body accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) specializing in safety, cybersecurity, and AI-algorithm testing. We are also a melting pot of different nationalities and generations.


Jean Hennebert – ICoSys (Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Complex Systems of HEIA-FR) (Team Leader)
Paula Reichenberg – Neur.on AI Solutions Ltd
Arman Iranfar – CertX AG
Yael Iseli – ICoSys (Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Complex Systems of HEIA-FR)
Orane Laeri – Neur.on AI Solutions Ltd
Marco Repetto – CertX AG

Team DS 

The team comprises of co-workers of TÜV SÜD, with diverse ethnic, racial, and technical backgrounds. They are gathered for the sole purpose of ensuring that AI systems are developed and operated in a Trustworthy and Ethical manner. Together, they have created AI quality frameworks with which AI Practitioners and Quality Control Managers can adopt and apply to their use cases. With the knowledge and expertise in the standardization and regulatory landscape pertaining to AI, the team has also been able to perform quality assessments for AI systems. Being adept in the AI space, AI quality comes as no stranger.


Rech Leong – Research Engineer, AI  (Team Leader)
Martin Saerbeck – CTO, Digital Service
Yao Cheng – Senior Principal Consultant, AI
Harleen Kaur Sidhu – Research Engineer, AI
Trisha Punj – Executive Engineer, AI
Ibrahim Halfaoui – Consultant, AI

Team Conformity Mavericks 

Conformity… Mavericks? It's kind of an oxymoron. But precisely for this reason, it seemed the perfect fit for us. This name exemplifies the type of contradictions and paradoxes that the large-scale irruption of technologies labeled as "artificial intelligence" entail in our lives as a civilization. As a team, we share our passion and commitment to the responsible use of trustworthy and safe AI systems and the importance of the EU's leadership in shaping our world.

Our different backgrounds, ages, gender, and expertise bring to the table a wide variety of perspectives that will undoubtedly enrich our proposal. We will spare no effort in working towards this common aim that the Grand Challenge has put in front of us.

Team members

Mario Lopez de Avila – AEINAR (Team Leader)
Carolina Pina – Garrigues law
Marcos García-Caravantes / AEINAR
Marta Valero, Garrigues law

Team LegalAIzers 

Our team is composed of experts in the fields of AI, law, ethics, data science and technology. As global citizens residing across the EU and beyond, we believe that the AI Act offers a much-needed framework to promote a “good AI society” in the EU, but also an opportunity to inspire legislation across the globe. The EU is displaying global leadership in its regulatory efforts, and by assessing the AI Act’s advantages and shortcomings, we hope to take our experience in the Grand Challenge to lead conversations about how to best regulate AI in our native countries and adopted homes.


Dirk Brand – Stellenbosch University (Team Leader)
Emmie Hine – University of Bologna
Kholofelo Kugler – University of Lucerne
Pier Giorgio Chiara – University of Bologna
Parisa Osivand – University of Toronto
Yasaman Yousefi – University of Bologna and University of Luxembourg

Team DikAIos 

Team dikAIos (Brunel University London) is comprised of expert academics from the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, and the College of Business, Arts, and Social Sciences, with varying levels of experience in academia, ranging from doctoral researchers and early career lecturers to experienced readers. The team represents Brunel’s Centre for AI: Social & Digital Innovation, which focuses on advancing and introducing new AI technologies at both theoretical and applied level.


Asress Adimi Gikay (Team Leader)
Stelios Andreadakis
Pin Lean Lau
Elena Abrusci
Cigdem Sengul
Alina Miron

Team Lavender 

Our team has come together specifically for The Grand Challenge and consists of professionals whose expertise spans the entire value chain of AI systems – from research and development to application, conformity assessment, compliance, deployment, post-deployment compliance and litigation, and more. We are based in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Switzerland and are active worldwide. 


Anja Janoschka – Lucerne University of applied sciences and arts (Team Leader)
Ana-Maria Barbu – Bonde Advokater AB
Adil Amjad – Thermo Fisher Scientific
Raj Unny – Indus Finch Group
Boris Inderbitzin – MLL Legal

Team Machines of Loving Grace 

Team 'Machines of Loving Grace' comprises academics, lawyers, policy experts, technology analysts, data scientists, data protection officers, cybersecurity experts, applied ethicists, human rights experts and humanitarian practitioners. Hailing from University College London (UCL), data rights agency AWO, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), we have advised and assisted a wide range of actors on what to do (and what not to do) with data and algorithmic systems – from policy design to governance, data management to technology deployment, strategic litigation to regulatory compliance.


Michael Veale – University College London (Team Leader)
Ben Hayes – AWO
Aparna Surendra – AWO
Laureline Lemoine – AWO
Mahdi Assan – AWO
Vincent Graf – International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Team Synergy4AI 

Synergy4AI aims to operationalize legal compliance and promote an ethical approach through assessment of AI systems and data-driven technology. We create synergies at different levels: between academia and industry, and between different disciplines (e.g. computer science, ethics and law). We  leverage our complementary skills, knowledge and experiences to support AI providers in developing sustainable and inclusive innovation.


Teresa Scantamburlo – Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy (Team Leader)
Valentina Billa – Aude / In2Law, Italy
Alessandro Fabris – Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy, Bochum, Germany
Paolo Falcarin – Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Chiara Gallese – University of Turin, Italy
Alberto Veneri – Ca’ Foscari University Venice, Italy

Team QuBit 

Qubit team is led by professor and researcher of Lithuania’s Mykolas Romeris University. Qubit team consists of six professionals from across tech industry and academia, including Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Mykolas Romeris University, law firm, Kreab, IBM, Telia. All team members have different backgrounds and work in different countries (i.e., Lithuania, Belgium, Switzerland, UK). Artificial intelligence is one of our core focus areas, which allows us to cover different aspects of AI, such as AI law, ethics, engineering, and data science. Passion to technology is what unites Qubit team members and encourages to participate in this Grand Challenge competition.

A.I. Providers

The Teams did not know the A.I. applications and providers before the Grand Challenge Final, but now that it is over, the A.I. providers are no longer secret…  

The Jury


The Teams' A.I. assessment reports remain confidential, but here is the essence of our public output from the Grand Challenge: an article in Nature Machine Intelligence and the video on youtube below.


We are extremely grateful to our partners for supporting the Grand Challenge -- THANK YOU!

Find even MORE INFORMATION here…