A FAIR data ecosystem for a stable food system

Published on
December 20, 2018

Complex living systems, socio-economic processes, environmental conditions, the intertwined relation between food & health, all these areas are continuously being provided by more data at an increasing speed and in higher detail. Data science offers methods and tools to create overview in these data and find new scientific insights. Data science will flourishes when it is not treated as a separate discipline, but integrated with domain expertise, and aimed at practical applications. This is the approach to data science as adopted by WUR. As part of this approach, we use the principles of FAIR data to improve integration and make reuse of data easier and more secure. To present and discuss this approach , 200 participants shared their experiences and expectations during the FAIR data symposium in Wageningen.

Need for FAIR data

FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable & Reusable data. Especially for reusability of research data, the FAIR principles provide useful guidance. Reuse of research data will make our work more effective, and also increases transparency and opens possibilities for innovative breakthroughs. It begins with building incentives and trust – amongst both data providers and consumers – in sharing, opening and using data. Key to achieving this will be developing a broad awareness of, and making efforts to improve, data quality, provenance, timeliness and accessibility. Good data management and an efficient infrastructure is essential for the right (re)use of our data. The implementation will require dedicated effort to bring this into existence.

Lively discussions


In the fascinating and fast changing world of data science, WUR has organized the Symposium to bring together researchers in the various domains as well as computer scientists and experts in data management. During the symposium recent international developments were presented and the participants were engaged in lively discussions on topics like data ownership, data ethics, relevance of data and shared benefits.

Dedicated to implement

WUR is dedicated to support the FAIR data principles. As Arthur Mol, Rector Magnificus WUR, states, 'In the coming five years we will develop and implement our FAIR data policy, as part of our new strategic plan.' The Wageningen Data Competence Center (WDCC) has been established to support researchers and scientists in this implementation and to accelerate the process. Therefore WDCC facilitates developments in the fields of education, research, value creation, infrastructure and data management and serves as an internal and external contact point.

On the right you can find the presentations and summaries of the speakers.