Sessions will be be regularly held online (via zoom) on Friday evenings (17:00-21:00) and Saturday mornings (9:00-15:00), for the whole duration of the Master. We also expect to have two or three gatherings in a European city (one at the beginning of the course - November 5-6 -, one on the end of the first practical project - February 12-13 - and a last one at the end of the Master programme - beginning of July -), as long as COVID-19 Health conditions across countries allow travelling.

To earn a Master in Artificial Intelligence for Public Services, you must successfully complete 4 courses and 6 project-based group activities (60 ECTS total), including:

  • 1 core introductory course (4.5 ECTS total):
    • AI in Public Administration (2.5 weeks, 01/10/2021-15/10/2021). You will learn what AI is and is not and which are the usual steps to be taken for the creation and deployment of AI-based public services. You will learn how AI can be applied for the digital transformation of the public sector, will see examples of success stories from different types of public administrations and talk to those who were responsible for them, and you will get an introduction on how AI is starting to be regulated in Europe, and how you can move from an organisation-centric creation of public services to a user-centric one.
  • 3 foundation courses (13.5 ECTS total):
    • Basic Concepts and Techniques in AI (5.5 ECTS) (3.5 weeks, 16/10/2021-06/11/2021). You will get a complete overview of the different types of techniques that are being used for the development and deployment of AI-based services (in the public sector and in industry). You will learn to differentiate between different types of knowledge, you will learn the main techniques that are used for knowledge representation, for data mining, for machine learning and for deep learning, and the different groups of tasks that can be solved with all these techniques, and when each of them are applicable. You will also learn about data visualisation techniques and other creative approaches to deal with data, and how to analyse existing systems and services using AI. This module will finish with a get-together session in Madrid (November 5th and 6th) where you will have the opportunity to meet the other master participants in person, as well as attend guest lectures and keynotes from very relevant persons involved in the design and delivery of AI and public services, and interact with them
    • Human-Centered AI-based service design (4 ECTS) (4 weeks, 12/11/2021-03/12/2021). You will learn how to co-design AI-based public services with different stakeholders, from problem setting and framing to idea generation and solution development, and including participatory processes. You will work throughout all the steps of co-design of a complete service, so as to have practical hands-on experience on how this process works.
    • AI and Ethics (4 ECTS) (3.5 weeks, 04/12/2021-18/12/2021). Virtually every AI professional will have to cope with legal and ethical issues during his or her professional career. You will learn how to apply practical and theoretical tools to address these issues. In particular, you will be given some general notions on the legal framework in Europe of AI, necessary to avoid breaching the law and necessary to exercise our rights. Specific focus will be made both on ‘privacy and data protection’, including practical cases around the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the upcoming Regulation on AI, on intellectual property and copyright regulation, including practical examples on data licenses and open data policies.
  • 5 predefined group-based hands-on projects (7 ECTS each). Each of these projects will be structured around 4-5 weeks of work, where you will go in depth in understanding the details of some specific AI techniques, while at the same time working in groups every week around a specific problem. Your group will be always accompanied by a mentor, who will guide you through the process and who will have specific checkpoints with your group so as to check progress and move forward. More details are explained later. The pre-selected projects will be:
    • Active listening and interaction with citizens (5 weeks, 14/01/2022-12/02/2022). You will get in-depth knowledge about current natural language processing, speech recognition and conversational AI techniques. You will also go deeper into those aspects related to the ethics of interacting with citizens and processing those interactions. And you will learn about how to request and evaluate the quality of the solutions when procuring these types of services. In the last weekend on this use case we will also get all together in Milan so as to present the work done, discuss about it collectively, and having the opportunity, again, to attend guest lectures and invited keynotes and interact with relevant professionals involved in the provision of AI-based services in the public sector.
    • AI for public procurement (4 weeks, 18/02/2022-12/03/2022). You will learn about how to apply anomaly detection, graph analytics and clustering techniques that can be applied on public procurement data, so as to improve the procurement of services or to fight corruption. You will go deeper into the consequences in terms of the AI regulation and on Open Data requirements.
    • AI-based service design for sustainability (4 weeks, 18/03/2022-23/04/2022, including Easter holidays). You will learn more about user-centered design, eXplainable AI and prediction mechanisms that can be used to make our society (and public services) more sustainable. You will also practice on how to include co-design activities in the tenders associated to the procurement of these types of services.
    • AI for improved data governance (4 weeks, 29/04/2022-21/05/2022). You will learn the techniques that can be used to govern all the public data more efficiently in the context of data spaces, using knowledge graph and data integration technologies. You will also learn about the importance of metadata management, and how to ensure that the results of your procurement processes turn into open data for the benefit of society and further public service development.
    • AI for citizen participation and deliberation (4 weeks, 28/05/2022-18/06/2022). Inspired by existing work on public participation and deliberation processes, you will learn more about decision making, predictive methods (forecasting and scenario-based design) and governance. You will also learn how to include clauses in tenders related to the quality of the results obtained and related to anonymisation processes.
  • 1 final group-based hands-on project, including onsite hackathons in different cities in Europe (7 ECTS, 3 weeks, 24/06/2022-09/07/2022):
    • This last project will allow students to propose in groups a use case that they would be interested in, based on their real experiences and needs. They will learn how to organise a hackathon to get external people involved in the co-design of services, and will finish with a physical hackathon in one or several cities in Europe, where such services will be realised as proofs of concept.

Hands-on group-based projects

A large part of the programme will be based on the idea of having you as students working in multidisciplinar-multicultural groups towards the design of public services that use different types of AI techniques, as discussed above.

We have selected 5 predefined topics and AI focus areas for each of them, so that students will get a comprehensive insight of types of problems that can be addressed with AI solutions and types of approaches that may be taken for them.

These group-based projects will be structured around 4-5 weeks of work, where each group will have a mentor assigned, who will drive the group towards the achievement of the solutions, The following work will be done each week, with checkpoints on every common session:

  • Week 1. Setting the objectives, understanding/framing the problem, understanding user/ context /technology (i.e., data available, barriers, limits, feasibility of applying AI, user needs, organisation needs, …)
  • Week 2. Extract insights from the research, reframe the problem, define design opportunities; go in depth into some of the AI techniques that can be used; idea generation.
  • Week 3. Initial idea iteration/prototyping, basic design of the solution, ethics consideration.
  • Week 4. Refinement, basic implementation, implications in procurement of solutions, final presentations.

The final project will be open so that we can collectively, and for each group, decide on the topic to be addressed, based on existing experiences or current or future needs by the members of the groups, and define the contents of the hackathon.

Program Format

This Master program will be taught during this course only in English, and will be delivered in an online format. There will be three physical gatherings (as long as COVID-19 Health restrictions permit), so as to generate a lively community of students.

In the first edition we will only focus on full-time students that can accomplish the Master during the first edition.


Successful students will get a joint diploma from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Politecnico di Milano.