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Stefan Leijnen

Coordinator working group Research and Innovation

Maarten van Steen

Chair working group Research and Innovation

Research and Innovation

Research into artificial intelligence (AI) in the Netherlands is high quality. Areas that need attention are the scale at which this research is being done and the limited extent to which AI innovations are finding their way into new applications. Thanks to new partnerships and funding options, though, we will be able to make great advances in research and innovation in the next few years.

AI is a system technology that is already having a major impact on our society. And that is just the start. That is why a report issued by the Scientific Council for Government Policy talks about a new technology that will change society significantly. Reason enough to pay additional attention to research and innovation in the AI arena.

Network approach

New insights and innovative solutions regularly turn up from unexpected sources. That is why it is important to involve lots of different parties in research and innovation projects, and that requires a network approach. The ideal is a network of networks, cooperating closely together and involving not only educational and research institutions but also the commercial sector and governmental authorities.

Better match between supply and demand

The Netherlands has AI scientists who develop promising AI technologies in their labs. We have a strong position in that respect. The trick is to match up supply and demand so that Dutch companies and entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed in putting these solutions on the market. That is one point that needs attention. If the various parties are able to find each other more quickly thanks to the network approach, it can lead to important breakthroughs.

Opportunities in Europe

From an international point of view, the Netherlands has a good reputation when it comes to developing AI technology. Finding ways to cooperate with other European countries can accelerate research and innovation projects. And that cooperation with other European countries is already happening. Organisations such as CLAIRE and ELLIS are taking the lead, with short lines of communication with the Netherlands AI Coalition (NL AIC). The last of these also pays close attention to the great opportunities that arise in Europe. Promising items are the exchange programmes where European AI experts share their expertise with each other so that Europe – the Netherlands included – can achieve a leading position globally when it comes to AI.

Retaining talent

Conducting thorough research and developing AI innovations is highly specialised work. Globally, there is high demand for AI experts. To prevent talented individuals from trying their luck abroad, the Netherlands will have to become even more attractive to them. We need these talented people if we are to retain our leading position in AI. The good news is that the government also realises that and is now investing more in research into AI. Training also plays a crucial role, of course – a topic that the Human Capital working group is beavering away to promote. It is a good example of how different working groups can help each other.

Role of the working group

The Research and Innovation working group is naturally also collaborating closely with other parties to encourage more joint efforts in AI research. First and foremost, this is done by maintaining a clear overview of what is happening and looking for solutions in areas that are not yet going as planned. The working group regularly acts as a matchmaker. Cooperating on the content and making progress together: those are the goals . Community-building is the best way to achieve innovative breakthroughs and make an economic impact.

More information

If you would like to know more about research and innovation, you can read this interview with Maarten van Steen, chair of the working group. Also interesting: this article about European cooperation on research and innovation. If you’re interested in this topic and would like to be actively involved, you can become a participant of the NL AIC and benefit from our Research and Innovation expertise and network, and other relevant AI themes.

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