ADS 2018 Highlights Report is Out!

Check out our highlights from 2018 below:

Amsterdam Data Science 2018 Report

Who we are:

Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) is a network for shared research and education in data science and artificial intelligence across knowledge institutes and industry. Originally a partnership of four Amsterdam knowledge institutes (AUAS, CWI, UvA, and VU), in 2018 ADS comprised 15 partner organisations (ten academic and five industry partners, listed below).


– Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) (joined 2014)

– Centrum Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI) (2014)

– Amsterdam Business School and Amsterdam School of Economics, Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam (UvA) (2016)

– Informatics Institute, UvA (2014)

– Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam (2014)

– Elsevier (2018)

– Qualogy (2018)


– Amsterdam Center for Business Analytics (ACBA), VU Amsterdam (2017)

– Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) (2018)

– APG Asset Management (2018)

– Faculty of Physical Activity, Sport and Nutrition, AUAS (2018)

– Faculty of Technology, AUAS (2018)

– Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, UvA (2018)

– Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI) (2018)

– KPN B.V. (2018)

Summary: ADS has continued to grow with new knowledge institutions and industry partners joining our ecosystem. Our 2017 report can be viewed here and the 2016 report here. All reports also update on the highlights from the Amsterdam Academic Alliance Data Science (AAA-DS) programme, a joint initiative with ADS (see summary highlights in the table). In 2018, five industry and four academic partners joined, thus broadening our network and making ADS sustainable beyond the AAA funding (ended December 2018). For 2019, VodafoneZiggo (Gold) and Naspers (Bronze) have already joined our ecosystem.

2018 highlights in brief

Research: Strengthening the Amsterdam knowledge institution collaborations

– New ADS Partners: See list above, new partners in 2018 are shown in bold.

In January 2018 we opened our network for industry partners to join. This has resulted in five new industry partnerships with Elsevier and Qualogy (Gold), and ACE, APG and KPN (Bronze).

– ADS Labs: In April the Artificial Intelligence for Retail Lab (AIRLab) was launched. This is a collaboration between ICAI and Ahold Delhaize. In October, the Elsevier AI Lab launched, a collaboration with UvA and VU. There are now nine labs within the ADS ecosystem.

International collaborations: With Insight (data science research centre, Ireland) we hold an MoU, and this year three new joint PhD projects commenced (fully funded by Science Foundation Ireland). The students will spend up to one year of their PhD in Amsterdam.

ADS awarded five joint exchanges for Postdocs and PhD’s with Ireland and China. Three of these have taken place in 2018, with one PhD student visiting Amsterdam for two months from Insight, and one ADS PhD student and one ADS Postdoc visiting Tsinghua for three months, helping to further cement collaborations.

In September, we had 10 academic researchers visit Amsterdam from Beijing University of Technology with whom ADS have an active collaboration on a number of specific themes including smart cities and smart health. As part of their visit, ADS hosted a one-day Meetup event where Beijing and Amsterdam researchers presented on various themes and utilised this opportunity to discuss future collaboration plans and share their ideas with the ADS community.

AAA Award to UvA (Informatics) and VU (Computer Science) has enabled strong and fruitful joint collaborations. UvA hosted eight postdoc/PhD’s and VU eight, with the projects involving multiple research domains (business, humanities, informatics, life sciences and social sciences) and regional partners: AUAS, CWI, VUmc, ORTEC and Philips. Thus, truly multi-disciplinary and organisation spanning. The original award of 3.069K has been more than tripled over the past three years with many new projects initiated as a result of the original funding.

The majority of the AAA postdocs have now come to the end of their project and have secured permanent positions, made possible through their AAA research projects, for example at Microsoft (both in the UK and USA) and permanent positions in academia at CWI and Tilburg University, amongst others (please see a summary of individual project highlights in the table). The AAA postdocs and PhD students had the opportunity to share their project highlights in poster presentations and demos at the ADS Highlights event in December 2018.

Education & Entrepreneurship: Promoting data science education & entrepreneurship in Amsterdam

– Career Fair: In February we organised a Data Science Career Fair, hosted at our bronze partner ACE’s location. The Fair was an opportunity for over 20 companies to connect with 200 students interested in data science, for example from the UvA and VU AI and Computer Sciences Master programmes, but also students from other domains and other Universities. The success of the event has meant that it is now an annual event and we will host the next edition on 11 March 2019 at the VU.

– Website: We host a dedicated website (Amsterdam School of Data Science) where we share and update information on data science education from the Amsterdam knowledge institutions (300+ courses and programmes) and respond to daily queries from students interested in data science study.

– Programmes: We host a successful Bachelor Minor: the Amsterdam Data Science Minor, which is in its second year of running and once again has been heavily oversubscribed. We also host a Data Science Master Track, now in its third year of running. The Master track has been oversubscribed each year and enrolment numbers are now more than double those of year 1. Both the minor and track are joint collaborative efforts of the Amsterdam knowledge institutions.

– Entrepreneurship: In collaboration with our partner ACE, we have jointly organised a number of programmes and events including a two-day entrepreneurship in data science programme and two corporate-startup events (with speakers from ADS).

Dissemination: Sharing our research with the outside world

– Meetup Events: In 2018 we have hosted 12 events for students, researchers and industry experts, both internal and external to our network. The events have covered a variety of cutting edge data science themes and have had a range of formats: Meetup events with presentations, pitch events for local Startups, a hackathon, and a career fair and workshops for data science students from the Universities. The most interest was in a Meetup event on Reinforcement Learning where 400 registered to attend. In December we hosted our annual highlights and looking forward event where we gave the floor to our ADS partners, with 14 snapshot presentations of highlights and plans from across our network. These events have enabled us to continue to build and expand our active data science community of 5600 Meetup members.

– Communication Tools: Continued to share our partner news and engage with our active community through our range of outlets and tools, e.g. news items on our two websites, monthly newsletter (1400 subscribers); LinkedIn (+520 followers); and Twitter (+1460 followers).

– Link with Related Initiatives: We play a key role in a number of national AI, data science and computer science initiatives including: Amsterdam Data Exchange (alongside the City, Economic Board and SURFsara), Big Data Alliance (whom we organise the career fair alongside); Data Science Platform Netherlands, and ICT Research Platform Netherlands.


In 2018, each ADS Gold partner contributed 15K and each Bronze partner 5K to support the ADS ecosystem. These amounts are utilised for project staff salaries (towards 2 members of staff, a project manager and a business relations manager), hosting of regular Meetup events, and marketing and website maintenance costs. This is both for Amsterdam Data Science and the Amsterdam School of Data Science. Within ADS, there is also the AAA funding stream, the original funding award by the UvA and VU Boards was 3.069K which has been utilised towards salaries for 16 joint positions over a three year period (see summary projects in the table, funding ended December 2018).

ADS Team in 2018

Management Team: Lynda Hardman (Director) (CWI), Jaap Heringa (VU), Nanda Piersma (CWI, HvA), Marc Salomon (UvA)

Supervisory Board: Henri Bal (VU), Peter Boswijk (UvA), Peter Boncz (CWI), Sabine Niederer (AUAS), Mark Siebert (Elsevier), Ana Maldonado (Qualogy), Max Welling (UvA)

AAA Award Leaders: Frank van Harmelen (VU), Maarten de Rijke (UvA)

Support: Eva Kenny (Project Manager), Esther Smit (Business Relations Manager)

Summary of ADS Events in 2018 (with event coordinators)

  • 06 December: ADS 2018 Highlights & Looking forward to 2019 (Lynda Hardman)
  • 12-13 October: ADS, ACE & Qualogy Hackathon (Ana Maldonado)
  • 25 September: Deep Dive into Reinforcement Learning (Zeynep Akata)
  • 20 September: Smart Cities and Smart Health in Amsterdam & Beijing (Zhisheng Huang)
  • 28 June: Data Science Startup Pitch Event (Ger Koole)
  • 08 June: Coffee & Data on Sustainable Systems and Software Architectures (Patricia Lago)
  • 12 April: Deep Dive into Semantic Resources in Biomedicine (Jaap Heringa)
  • 29 March: Coffee & Data on Urban Analytics (Nanda Piersma)
  • 28 February: Amsterdam Data Science Career Fair (ADS & Big Data Alliance)
  • 15 February: Responsible Data Science (Frank van Harmelen)
  • 19 January: Coffee & Data on Legal Tech (Marc Salomon)
  • 09 January: Deep Dive into Deep Learning in Medical Imaging (Max Welling)

View the full report HERE

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