Enabling Digitally Enhanced Science in 2016


Dear reader,

In 2015 we presented our strategic choices for the next five years. That strategy, which came together after discussions with many stakeholders, is now coming alive in collaboration with many partners. The result is visible in our project map below, and the highlights of our scientific impact, research software and coordination activities in this report.

In last year’s annual report I stated that we are living in an increasingly digital world – and new worlds call for new formats. So without further ado I am proud to present you our annual report 2016 in this new digital format, which I hope you will enjoy.

We are looking forward to more successful collaborative projects and activities in 2017!

Prof. Wilco Hazeleger, Director of the Netherlands eScience Center

46 Projects in 2016


2 projects at CWI

1 project at Netherlands eScience Center initiatives

2 projects at Nikhef

5 projects at VU University Amsterdam

9 projects at University of Amsterdam


Netherlands eScience Center initiatives


VU University Amsterdam

University of Amsterdam

university/institution projects
CICERO Noorwegen 1
Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut 1
Delft University of Technology 3
Eindhoven University of Technology 1
Leiden University 3
Maastricht University 1
Netherlands eScience Center initiatives 1
Nikhef 2
Radboud University 2
Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome 1
SURFnet 1
University College London 1
University Medical Center Utrecht 1
University of Amsterdam 9
University of Groningen 1
University of Twente 2
Utrecht University 1
VU University Amsterdam 5
Wageningen University 3
Projects per focus area
Physics & Beyond
Environment & Sustainability
eScience Methodology
Life Sciences & eHealth
Humanities & Social Sciences
All 42 projects
Would you like to see more?
View our projects

Our impact on science

We are both an eScience expertise center and a funder of data-intensive research projects. Our team of eScience Research Engineers partners up with researchers from all disciplines at all Dutch universities to deliver scientific excellence.

0 We received 108 project proposals requesting our expertise and funding in 2016. We granted 16 project proposals.
0 We started seven new alliances in 2016 - strategic projects to develop and improve technical skills in specific areas.
0 48 - We published 48 papers in 2016, of which 15 eScience papers and 33 domain science papers. View all papers.
0 Eight new projects were externally funded in 2016: One Horizon2020 grant, one Copernicus grant, one RCN grant (Norway), one project funded by industry and four external researchers hiring our eScience Research Engineers.

“I was especially glad that they started by asking me for an historical question that needed answering. Far too often, digital humanities focus on purely technological challenges, instead of answering historical questions in a state of the art digital environment.”

Prof. Huub Wijfjes (University of Groningen)

Read the interview

Research software at the heart of science

Software has become an integral part of scientific research - from Natural Language Processing to analyze emotions in texts to Machine Learning to analyze bird behavior. In collaboration with researchers we develop software and methods that can be used across disciplines.

0 Organizations co-developing our research software
0 Projects based on free and open source code
0 Software releases in our GitHub repositories
Developing research software: it starts with a question

Research question
For us developing research software starts with understanding the perspective of the researcher. Jointly exploring the research question is crucial for eScience. What do we want to understand and what is our methodological point of departure?


The next step is to explore what can we learn from other projects and developments or other research disciplines. Which existing Open Source software and methods can we re-use and tailor or what do we need to develop?


Tailoring & developing
With a good overview of existing Open Source solutions, we start to tailor and develop software and methods in collaboration with the researcher. By working closely together we maximize the applicability of the solution for the researcher.


Tailored and developed software and methods are applied by the researcher to help answer the research question.


Generalized software and methods are more broadly applicable and will therefore have impact on science beyond a specific research question, and even beyond a research discipline. Therefore, at the end of each project cycle, we ‘generalize’ the solution. For example, we tailored and developed software and methods to analyze emotions in 18th century theater texts which we turned into generic text mining software and methods.


By generalizing software and methods and supporting these with documentation, demonstrations and training resources, we promote the exchange and re-use of software and methods in research communities. As an example: One of our solutions has been downloaded 14.000 times already.

All our software, knowledge and research can be found on the eScience Technology Platform.
View our eScience Technology Platform

“If you want to maximize the impact of research software on science, Open Source is essential but not sufficient. You also need to provide high quality documentation, workflow descriptions, demonstrations, and tutorials.”

Dr. Willem van Hage (Technical Lead Data Management & Analytics), Prof. Rob van Nieuwpoort (Director eScience Technology), Dr. Jason Maassen (Technical Lead Efficient Computing)

Coordinating eScience

In 2016 we organized several activities and our annual Young eScientist Award competition to promote eScience in The Netherlands.

0 Almost 400 scientists and researchers from different fields attended the 4th National eScience Symposium.
0 We brought together 150 high-profile representatives from academia, private organizations and public administration to collect input for the Big Data Route of the Dutch National Science Agenda.
0 We trained over 250 researchers in essential skills for data-intensive research during 8 workshops, organized in partnership with many other organizations.
4th National eScience Symposium
Each year, the National eScience Symposium attracts a large and diverse audience of scientists and researchers from different fields. The 4th National eScience Symposium was organized in partnership with Statistics Netherlands (CBS), ASTRON, COMMIT2data, Leiden Centre of Data Science, SURFsara and Amsterdam Business School. Almost 400 people attended this year’s symposium on 13 October 2016 in the Amsterdam ArenA. In addition to a plenary session featuring three keynotes from different scientific disciplines, the symposium also featured five thematic sessions with speakers from many (inter)national institutes and organizations, a demo exhibition space and the award ceremony of the Young eScientist 2016. All talks have been recorded and are available on our YouTube channel.
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Dutch National Science Agenda
We played a significant role in the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda by co-leading the Big Data Route. During a ‘routeworkshop’ with 150 participants we collected input from high-profile representatives from academia, private organizations and public administration. Of the 25 thematic routes, 3 have been prioritized by the ministries involved. This includes the Big Data route which has been joined with the Digitalization Agenda of the VNSU (collaborative universities). The activities on the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda have positioned the eScience Center more clearly in the science policy arena.
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Workshops, lectures and presentations
In collaboration with many other organizations* we delivered 8 workshops and trainings in the field of software and data expertise. On an international level, we presented ourselves and engaged with the international data, computing and eScience community on many relevant conferences, such as IEEE eScience and WSSSPE. We also continued our collaboration with the Lorentz Centre to stimulate multidisciplinary research.

* DTL, Leiden University, Promovendi Netwerk Nederland, Radboud University, Software Carpentry Foundation, SRON, SURFsara, SURF Support4Research, University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University Medical Center, VU University Amsterdam
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Young eScientist Award 2016
Each year we award a prize to stimulate a young scientist demonstrating excellence in eScience: the development or application of digital technology to address scientific challenges. Maureen van Eijnatten (25) from VU University Medical Center has won the Young eScientist Award 2016 for her idea to apply Artificial Intelligence in improving the 3D printing of body parts. She will receive 10.000 Euro to stimulate her research, as well as half a year of support by an eScience Engineer (experts in the application of digital technology in research). The prize will be used to undertake a joint research project.
Read more

Our budget in 2016

The majority of our budget is directed towards funding and conducting projects. In those projects we connect the world of scientific questions and research challenges from domain sciences with the world of data and computer sciences and digital infrastructures.

Total budget: 6.368 M


About us

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42 team members

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Upcoming projects in 2017