Enabling Digitally Enhanced Science in 2017

Dear reader,

We look back on an exciting and busy year. In 2017 we welcomed our 50th colleague. Having started with only a handful of people in 2011, we now have a team that covers a wide variety of expertise areas. Such a varied team enables us to help answer the most challenging research questions with digital technologies and methods.

Over the past year, we worked on almost 50 collaborative projects which you can view in the map below. Also, our team contributed to many national and international initiatives that involve strengthening science and scholarly research with digital technology. Among these initiatives are the Dutch National Platform Open Science, the European Open Science Cloud and the Dutch National Research Agenda. In the latter we took up a coordinating role in the ‘Startimpulsprogramma Verantwoorde Waardecreatie met Big Data’.

Another important team effort was the launch of our new Research Software Directory. We’re proud to share the result with you in this report. In 2018 we will continue to develop this directory, which aims to be much more than an archive of research software. It also shows the multiple disciplines where the tools are applied, the documentation, and the people behind the development of software.

Last but not least, over we started preparations for hosting the International IEEE eScience Conference - in October 2018 we will welcome 200 internationally leading eScientists to Amsterdam.

As always, we hope you’ll enjoy reading this report and we look forward to collaborate with many existing and new partners in the year ahead!

Prof. Wilco Hazeleger, Director Netherlands eScience Center

48 collaborative projects in 2017

CICERO Noorwegen
Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut
Delft University of Technology
Eindhoven University of Technology
Leiden University
MAASTRO clinic
Netherlands eScience Center initiatives
Open University Heerlen
Tilburg University
University of Exeter
University of Groningen
University Medical Center Utrecht
Utrecht University
University of Twente
University of Amsterdam
VU University Amsterdam
VU University Medical Center
Wageningen University
Projects per focus area
Physics & Beyond 5
Environment & Sustainability 10
eScience Methodology 14
Life Sciences & eHealth 12
Humanities & Social Sciences 7
All projects 48

Our impact on science

Our team of eScience Research Engineers collaborates with researchers from all disciplines. Below are featured stories on four of our collaborations in 2017. Next to our usual collaborations, our first Flagship project was accepted at the end of 2017. This research project between an internationally renowned domain scientist (supported by a collaborative and excellent scientific community in the Netherlands) and multiple eScience Research Engineers is setup to increase the sustainable impact of the eScience Center’s work on academic research.

0 We received 131 project proposals requesting our expertise and funding in 2017. We granted 19 project proposals.
0 We published 35 papers in 2017. View all papers
0 We had 17 externally funded projects in 2017 including 9 newly acquired of which two H2020 projects.
0 Flagship project. This new project, starting in 2018, aims to increase the sustainable impact of the eScience Center’s work on academic research.

Research Software

Software has become an integral part of academic research. In collaboration with researchers we develop software and methods that can be used across disciplines. With our Research Software Directory we encourage the re-use of research software. Below a blog post is featured of a research software tool we developed in 2017: SPOT.

0 Organizations co-developing our research software
0 Number of software packages in the RSD as of December 2017
0 Projects based on free and open source code
0 Total mentions of our software packages in for example journal articles, presentations, newspaper articles or blog posts
The Research Software Directory: Encouraging the re-use of research software
Visit the RSD

Research Software Directory (RSD)
The RSD encourages the re-use of research software primarily via three ways:

  1. Facilitating researchers to find and quickly judge the relevance and quality of research software.
  2. Encouraging developers to make their research software findable and accessible.
  3. Facilitating funders and policy makers to judge the impact of investments in research software.

For researchers, the RSD makes research software findable and accessible. It provides concise and contextual information about research software to help you judge its relevance for your purposes.


For developers it is important to make research software findable and accessible in such a way that it helps researchers judge its relevance, and funders and policy makers to judge its impact. The Research Software Directory facilitates this by showing concise and contextual information about research software to researchers and by helping funders and policy makers to judge the impact of research software.


Return on investment
Developing research software in a sustainable way requires a lot of investment. For funders and policy makers it is important to be able to judge the impact of such investments. The RSD explores ways to demonstrate the impact of research software, for example by linking software to publications and other mentions in public sources.

Coordinating eScience

In 2017 we organized several activities and our annual National eScience Symposium to promote eScience in The Netherlands.

National eScience Symposium 2017

This year's symposium was co-organized with SURFnet, Shell-NWO progamme, CLARIAH, NeuroLabNL and Commit2Data. The symposium is an annual one-day event where researchers from different disciplines meet to discuss how digital technology impacts their research. It featured over 30 speakers in five thematic sessions: Internet of Things, Energy Science, Natural Language Processing, Brain, Cognition and Behavior, and The Future of Machine Learning.

View photo album.

Workshops, trainings and presentations

In collaboration with many other organizations we organized workshops and trainings, and gave presentations in the field of developing and applying research software. New this year was our training program eScience Academy, which primarily focuses on programming and data skills for our current research partners. 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 we organized several workshops on research software we developed. We also continued our collaboration with the Lorentz Center to stimulate multidisciplinary research via workshop grants.

Involved in national and international initiatives

We are involved in many national and international initiatives that aim to strengthen science and scholarly research with digital technology. We have a coordinating role in the Dutch National Research Agenda’s route ‘Verantwoorde Waardecreatie met Big Data’ - a consortium of 24 partners. With our involvement in NPOS (the Dutch National Plan Open Science), GO-FAIR and EOSC (the European Open Science Cloud) we want to contribute to a more collaborative and inclusive scientific infrastructure – in the Netherlands and in Europe. As chair of ePLAN and PLAN-E we co-organized events related to FAIR data and the European Open Science Cloud. Together with ePLAN we also took the initiative to initiate the Netherlands Research Software Engineer community (NL-RSE). The community aims to share knowledge, organize meetings and raise awareness for the scientific recognition of research software. RSEs from over 15 institutes have already joined NL-RSE.

Identifying eScience challenges across disciplines

What do ecology, psychology and medical science have in common? And what digital technologies do we need to engage in those shared challenges, how do we bridge gaps between disciplines, and how do we combine expertise from different domains with expertise from computer and data science? Next to project collaborations, we want to strengthen our relationships with project partners via other means. In January 2017 we organized our first interactive day with our project partners, during which we explored shared challenges in different research disciplines. This resulted in several key topics and a thematic event on visualization in June. In 2018 we will continue to strengthen our relationships with project partners.

Young eScientist Award 2017

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. The prize will be used to undertake a joint research project. Frank Takes (31) from the University of Amsterdam has won the Young eScientist Award 2017. Takes’ research focuses on corporate tax avoidance via offshore finance. This has been a hot topic in recent years, especially with large companies moving offshore from their ‘home’ nation for the purpose of tax avoidance. Together with the eScience Center, Takes will develop an interactive web-based platform to investigate the dynamics of this global network of offshore finance.

Our budget in 2017

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: 6.875 M


About us

0 Number of nationalities
0 New team members
0 Team members left the organization
0 Youngest team member
0 Oldest team member
0 Blog posts on eScience-related topics we care about

54 team members

Get to know our team

Upcoming projects in 2018