The vision of WASP-HS is excellent research and competence on the consequences and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems for humanities and society. This knowledge will be for the benefit of Swedish society and industry.

A major national initiative

In the past years, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has made significant investments in research on autonomous systems, software and AI through the program WASP. There is no doubt these technologies will have significant effects on our society. The WASP HS program, funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, aims at extend and complement technological research and advances on AI with a strong investment on  research in social science and humanities.

This multidisciplinary approach will advance our understanding of the challenges and impact of intelligent and autonomous technology, as well as contributing to the development of theory and practice of human and societal aspects of AI and autonomous systems.

WASP-HS Components

The WASP HS program is planned to run 2019 – 2028 and will form an independent and parallel program to WASP, while maintaining a close dialogue with the WASP program. WASP HS includes the following components:

  • A research program aiming at forming an interdisciplinary community across the funded projects
  • A national graduate school
  • Recruitment of junior and visiting faculty across disciplines
  • International partnerships and activities.
Research projects

A call for grants related to consequences of autonomous systems, software and AI was issued in the spring of 2019 with the intention to support up to 20 projects during 2019. In addition to these project grants, the WASP-HS program will include a graduate school, international partnerships, support for young researchers and possibly additional project grants and internationalization activities such as post docs or visiting professors.

National Graduate School

The WASP HS graduate school addresses challenges and consequences of autonomous systems and AI in society, providing integrated training in philosophy, social science, policy research, organisational science, psychology, and other humanities and social science disciplines, together with a sound knowledge of core AI issues.

The graduate school takes a cohort-based approach bringing together students from a wide variety of backgrounds in interdisciplinary teams to address real problems taking account of the individual, societal, and ethical implications. As such WASP-HS will contribute to the diversity and inclusion of AI related expertise and as such strengthen Sweden’s and Europe’s much needed ‘soft-skills’ on AI. In 2020, around 20 PhDs will be recruited. The school aims to achieve an active community of researchers across Sweden through courses, joint study trips and summer- and winter seminars. PhDs in the WASP-HS program are expected to work together with researchers on the WASP-AI and WASP-AS programs.

New Faculty

The objectives of WASP HS require a strong and internationally recognised faculty researching and teaching the social, ethical, legal, economic and cultural impact of AI. To achieve this, WASP HS will work closely with universities across Sweden to extend current faculty with junior lecturers and visiting professors working on these topics.

Starting in 2020, the program will start the process of appointing up to 10 assistant professors (biträdande lektor) across Sweden. From 2021, we will also appoint visiting professors across the participating universities. In all these appointments, special attention is given to the strengthening of Swedish excellence across the core disciplines of WASP-HS and to a strong embedding of these positions in the academic programs and visions of the universities involved. Training and support for these positions as well as for the PIs and supervisors of the projects supported by the program is an important priority of the program. Regular meetings and workshops will be held, to facilitate interaction and the establishment of cross-discipline and cross-university collaborations. Where relevant, we will also develop a mentorship program through which senior researchers will support program members, possibly involving our international partners.


WASP HS is establishing international contacts with leading groups and institutions across the world. Exchange of faculty and a postdoc program and part of these collaborations.