Doing better data driven science thanks to the Wageningen Data Competence Center

Published on
March 2, 2018

The speed at which digital data is growing worldwide is huge. This growth is expected to continue exponentially in coming years. Wageningen University & Research therefore launches a data hub for innovations and research in agriculture, food, environment and health: Wageningen Data Competence Center.

Digital data is being recorded by citizens, companies and governments, however also during research and development. There are an increasing number of data sources. These range from sensors placed on satellites and drones to sensitive laboratory equipment and smart consumer devices. Researchers and scientific applications are therefore provided with the availability of more and more data.

This causes a strong lift in data driven research. Depending on the source, data can take a more structured form (genetic or meteorological information for example) or be of more unstructured nature. Organising, making accessible and analysing this (big) data is becoming more important. Analysing these individual data sets, but especially combinations thereof, can provide much new scientific, social and economic value. At the interfaces between disciplines new breakthroughs are most commonly taking place.

Implementing data driven science

The promise of big data is not easily fulfilled. Technological challenges exist in data sharing and methodological challenges arise when analysing data in order to extract value. Likewise, social and ethical aspects surrounding data receive increasingly more attention. Who is the owner of data in agro-food chains? Wat happens with our society and the agro-food sector when so much data is becoming available?

WUR is unique in organizing the WDCC. It is important that education, research, value creation, infrastructure and data management are introduced as a concerted effort for the entire knowledge domain.
Rector Arthur Mol

There is a need for education, research and social embedding of ‘big data’ and digitalisation. Along the lines of strategic investments in big data, the importance of fast and integral access to large quantities of connected data is ever increasing, as well as knowledge needed to analyse and interpret this data.

The Wageningen Data Competence Center

Considering the quick worldwide technological advancements, Wageningen University & Research is joining this ‘data driven research’ development. Wageningen University & Research therefore launches a data hub for innovation and research in agriculture, food, environment and health: the Wageningen Data Competence Center.

This hub bundles knowledge on data science, big data, data driven innovation and data analytics, as they happen within the different specialisations of Wageningen University & Research. Follow these developments through the new website of the Data Competence Center.

The Wageningen Data Competence Center maintains the following roles:

  1. Provide access to innovations on data driven applications through a data desk.
  2. One-Stop-Shop for questions related to data science, big data, data governance, open data and IPR regarding sharing data.
  3. Provide and develop new courses based on data and ICT innovations within the agrifood sector.
  4. Combine, facilitate and connect through the organisation of network meetings, hack events and debates.
  5. Realise sectorial crossovers in agrifood, by deploying existing and proven solutions on a broader scale.