Newsletter NWA route AI and Big Data

The NWA route AI and Big Data is in full swing, and during the session organized at ICT.Open 2023, it was noticed how many people are involved in or interested in the route, and that it is becoming a real community. That's why we have started collecting names and email addresses so that everyone can be kept informed about developments around this NWA route. The first newsletter has been recently sent.

The newsletter will be sent a few times a year and will contain relevant updates on the NWA route AI and Big Data. If you would like to receive these newsletters, you can sign up by sending an email to Freek Bomhof at

Contents of the first newsletter

1 – ICT.Open

The presentations can be downloaded via the Surf File Sender (expiry June 21st, so don’t wait too long). This includes

  1. Presentations on the background of the NWA Route AI & Big Data by Tibor Bosse
  2. Presentation on the NWA itself by Joep van Wijk (NWO)
  3. Presentations of the ‘small projects’ within the call

2 – Updated NWA

On April 21st, an updated version of the NWA was presented to the minister of Higher Education Robbert Dijkgraaf. The route AI & Big Data was one of the routes that was featured with a more in-depth presentation and interview with the route management. To present the route and its challenges, a very nice video was made.

3 – Focus ORC call: theme selection

As announced prior to the ICT.Open session, the Route will select a theme for the upcoming ORC call. One of the reasons is that the topic itself tends to be too wide, thus causing less focused proposals and also many project proposals, where only a few can be granted.

Together with Waag Futurelab, co creation sessions have been organized in 2022 to evaluate the current state of affairs in the route, and dive deeper into the societal impact of AI and Big Data and extract the core topics that should receive more attention. After all, the original questions of the NWA were collected some 7 years ago and both science and society have progressed. The outcome of these sessions already provided some good directions and these were presented to the ICT.Open audience by means of a survey: which of these themes would work best? The result was relevant, but we all felt that the voice of the citizen could (should) be heard more explicitly when it comes to the selection of themes for the route. Therefore, Waag Futurelab will organize ‘citizen panel’ meetings in June to collect additional insights. Based on all inputs, the route management will propose the definition of the theme focus and discuss it with the steering group.

Interaction with society on scientific questions is a core feature of the NWA, so it is no surprise that the NWA program committee really liked this approach when we informed them about this approach.

4 – What is the NWA Route AI & Big Data again?

There are quite some groups, platforms and communities around AI and Big Data, and the NWA Route is one of them. We can imagine that you may have forgotten a bit what this Route is about.

A very quick summary: This webpage summarizes the NWA quite nicely. A major component of the NWA is the ORC calls for multidisciplinary research proposals that fit into one of the routes. Apart from these ORC calls, regularly a call for ‘small projects’ (around 100k each) is put out, with the goal to explore new directions in the route. Every route is led by a figurehead (Tibor Bosse) and a route manager (Freek Bomhof). There is a steering group that is consulted for strategic decisions (the ICT.Open presentations, in item 2 above, give more details).