Authors: Erich Kobler, Alexander Effland, Karl Kunisch, Thomas Pock Description: Diverse inverse problems in imaging can be cast as variational problems composed of a task-specific data fidelity term and a regularization term. In this paper, we propose a novel learnable general-purpose regularizer exploiting recent architectural design patterns from deep learning. We cast the learning problem as a discrete sampled optimal control problem, for which we derive the adjoint state equations and an optimality condition. By exploiting the variational structure of our approach, we perform a sensitivity analysis with respect to the learned parameters obtained from different training datasets. Moreover, we carry out a nonlinear eigenfunction analysis, which reveals interesting properties of the learned regularizer. We show state-of-the-art performance for classical image restoration and medical image reconstruction problems.