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Digital Twins Conference at WUR: "Bringing Digital Twins to Life".

Published on
December 21, 2022

Taking on the challenge of developing Digital Twins in the green life sciences was the theme during these two days. The fact that this is different from developing Digital Twins in, for example, the built environment was frequently discussed. And that's what WUR has been doing for the past four years, with the "Digital Twins" strategic investment program.

It was freezing outside when more than 150 participants entered Orion to attend the Digital Twins @WUR conference on Dec. 13. After Janne Vereijken introduced herself as moderator of the day, Arthur Mol (rector magnificus and vice president of WUR) officially opened the conference by handing the booklet 'Digital Twins' to Ino Ostendorf (deputy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality). Both declared that research on Digital Twins in green life sciences should continue.

The first keynote speaker, Farid Tabarki, challenged the audience to see Digital Twins in a bigger picture. With one word, he described the situation we all find ourselves in; "Zeitenwende. He introduced three (out of seven) movements on how to deal with 'Zeitenwende': (1) from hierarchy to network; (2) from scarcity to abundance and (3) from process to play. Digital Twinning fits these movements.

The comprehensive program spoiled participants with deep dive sessions organized by the three flagships and two platforms of the Digital Twin program. In addition, posters and complete VR experiences were presented during the conference. In conclusion, an inspiring panel discussion provided the main message of the day: Digital Twins are here to stay!

While on day two the first skaters were spotted on the pond outside Orion, inside experiences of Digital Twinning such as visualization, developing and using AI or building your own sensor were shared. This day was also set up to meet and discuss current and future research on Digital Twins. Koen Bruynseels (Head of Computational Biology and Head of Digital Twin program at BASF) provided the closing remarks. He touched on many aspects of Digital Twinning and stated that Digital Twins has reached the stage of "slope of enlightenment" based on the Gartner Hype Cycle. He quoted Peter Drucker's famous statement "the best way to predict the future is to create it."

With this investment theme, WUR has put Digital Twins on the map and is proud to share so many results and lessons learned. WUR is taking the initiative to set up a Digital Twin Community. If you would like to be part of it, please send an email to data@wur.nl.

See you soon!