The three universities participating in the CoAI JRC have submitted a joint proposal for a “Cluster of Excellence” as part of the German Excellence Strategy, Germany’s prestigious funding line to support internationally competitive fields of fundamental research at German universities or university consortia. The cross-site CoAI consortium proposes in its application to investigate a new paradigm for AI systems that feature human-centered real-world agency. The goal of the research project is to develop a new generation of AI systems that is flexible enough to engage in tasks in which the purpose, the means, and the outcome may not be fully determined in advance but instead emerge through negotiation and interaction between a human and a robot. To accomplish this, the CoAI consortium proposes to apply the concept of co-construction, a collaborative learning process that has been studied in psychology, linguistics, cultural and education science for the domain of human-human interaction. In the proposed Cluster of Excellence the multidisciplinary research team will expand the concept of co-construction to the domain of AI as the foundation for systems that have the socio-cognitive abilities needed to acquire new understanding and new skills from humans that empower them to act successfully in the human physical and social world.