WUR invests heavily in artificial intelligence

WUR is set to invest heavily in data sciences and artificial intelligence (AI) over the next five years. Three additional professors, six part-time experts and one research coordinator are to be recruited.
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In total, the university will spend an additional 800,000 euros annually on AI research over the next five years. That is on top of the money in the strategic plan for the Digital Twins theme. The investment decision by the Executive Board follows an advisory report by the

The three professors will work on the Digital Twins investment theme

Wageningen Data Competence Centre. According to the advisory committee, digital technology, new software and algorithms are increasingly affecting the Wageningen research domains of nutrition, nature, agriculture, the climate, health and the economy. That is why WUR should invest in combining data science and domain expertise. Investments in data management and infrastructure are needed to facilitate this. The collaboration with Utrecht and Eindhoven universities helps Wageningen keep up to date with the more fundamental developments in data science and AI.

The board plans to appoint three full-time professors in a flexible role interacting with different groups and tasked with develop-
ing a joint research programme with external partners. A further six part-time professors will bring in expertise from other universities and Wageningen Research through this same research programme. WUR will also recruit a Data Science Alliance Manager responsible for organizing AI programmes with national and international partners. Moreover, grants will become available to further shape the extensive research programme that links the AI groups.

Digital twins

The advisory committee concludes that many chair groups currently have expertise in data science but most are not using this knowledge to its full potential. WUR does not have a big external presence in the field of data science. WUR also lacks expertise in the infrastructure required to create these links.

The three new professors will work on the Digital Twins investment theme. This theme focuses on the methodology, soci- etal aspects and application of data science and AI.

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