WDCC News Q4: Investment program (WU + WR) Data Science/AI

Research and education in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

WUR present in major AI conference

The Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) is one of the most prominent venues for artificial intelligence and machine learning research in the world. The conference is a highly selective event where double-blind refereed papers are presented in the main track and side-workshops. This year WUR is present with two papers!

The first one studies how reinforcement learning, a method where intelligent agents learn from rewards rather than labels, can be used for learning long-term crop management strategies. This work is a collaboration of the WUR AI Professor Ioannis Athanasiadis with the ETH Zurich AI Center, and led by Dr. Matteo Turchetta. The paper presents an open benchmark, named CyclesGym, that allows for long-term planning in agroecosystems, by bringing together AI with crop growth simulation models. For AI researchers, this is a novel benchmark to investigate issues arising in real-world agricultural applications. For agronomists, it demonstrates the potential of reinforcement learning as a powerful optimization tool for agricultural systems management in multi-year case studies on nitrogen fertilization and crop planning scenarios.

    More info about research and education in data science and artifical intelligence :

    Research engineers

    Two dedicated research teams have significantly grew since the last advisory board meeting. The data management infrastructure team, which will provide the technical basis for the WUR common data solutions, has been expanded and will have 3 structurally funded FTE available per January 2023. This builds an important capacity at WUR to provide researchers with FAIR data infrastructure support. The other team, Research IT Solutions, houses the RE from the DS/AI progamme (Nick Brummans) and has started per October. All team members have a RE type function and come together as a team to address research IT questions.


    The Eindhoven, Wageningen, Utrecht University and UMC (EWUU) alliance organised a large summit on AI for Health in Omnia, see here. Next to the summit we have been able to grant seed call projects to members of the alliance. For next year we are expected to contribute to a new roadmap for the alliance on AI for Health. On April 19th the Alliance will organize its Year Conference. Within the context of EWUU we participate in a National Growth Fund (NGF) initiative on Predictive Health and Obesity, Data infrastructure has a particular focus for WDCC and we are working to align this proposal with our Data Science activities.

    For the NL AI Coalition we will work together with partners and AI hub Oost to create a workplan for 2023 where we outline participation in strategic developments in the AI ecosystem. The ministry of LNV announced the investment in an 'Actieprogramma Digitalisering' that has passed the parliament last week, with our alliance efforts we have been contributing to this 'Actieprogramma' and we explore how we can allign these investment with WUR's activities.

    Director WDCC