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Productive Gathering of the COMFORT Consortium in Nijmegen

At the end of May, the COMFORT consortium convened in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, for its first progress and second general assembly meeting. Our hosts, Alessa Hering and Sarah de Boer, kindly organised for us to meet at the beautiful Huize Heyendael, directly located at our partner site, Radboud University Medical Centre (RUMC).

The meeting commenced with a warm welcome from project coordinator Keno Bressem (Charité/TUM), setting the stage for a series of productive discussions.

The consortium reviewed the progress achieved thus far and delved into several key topics, including a cooperation with the PI-CAI Challenge, a common understanding of bias, trust, and fairness in AI, the impact of AI models on carbon emissions, and what to consider from a regulatory point of view for AI-based medical devices. The latter was discussed as part of a workshop session held by Stephan Zidowitz (Fraunhofer/MEVIS), and the guidance on best practice was very welcomed by partners as a conclusive regulatory framework is still under discussion.

The consortium was further delighted to welcome stakeholder board member Alexander Lemm from Amazon Web Services, along with independent ethics advisors Aimee van Wynsberghe (University Bonn) and Georg Starke (TUM). Georg Starke also delivered an insightful guest talk on "Trust in AI-driven healthcare: A perspective from ethics".

An additional meeting highlight was a pitch session, during which four of our PhD students showcased their ongoing research within the COMFORT project:

  • Sarah de Boer, RUMC, AI Algorithms for Bosniak classification
  • Hartmut Häntze, Charité/RUMC, MRSegmentator: Robust MRI Segmentation
  • Dennis Fast, BHT, Medical Benchmarking of LLMs
  • Cornelia Käsbohrer, UMU, Detecting AI Fairness issues

The engaging pitch format sparked in-depth discussions on the ongoing work and the format will be continued in future meetings.

While most attendees departed around noon on the second day, the early career researchers remained for an afternoon hackathon organised by Kiran Venkatesh (RUMC). This provided an excellent opportunity for collaborative problem-solving and networking.

As we fondly recall our time in Nijmegen, we eagerly anticipate our next progress and general assembly meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece, with AUTH generously agreeing to host us in 2025.

The COMFORT consortium
Day 1 - PI-CAI Challenge guest talk by Anindo Saha
Day 1 - Georg Starke on trust in AI-driven healthcare
Day 1 - COMFORT materials at the meeting
Day 2 - Lili Jiang on trustworthiness of AI models
Day 2 - Stephan Zidowitz on regulatory requirements for the clinical use of AI solutions
Day 2 - The COMFORT PhD students