The proposal on Technologies and Documentation of African languages is the winner of the Lorentz-eScience competition 2020-2021  

Earlier this year the eScience Center and the Lorentz Center invited researchers to join our eScience competition and to apply for a leading-edge workshop on digitally enhanced research. 

The winning proposal is: 
‘Creating synergies: Technologies and Documentation of African languages’ 
Sara Petrollino, Felix Ameka, Daan van Esch, Mmasibidi Setaka and Emmanuel Ngue Um

The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars and practitioners and move forward the agenda for both linguists working on the documentation of African languages and computer scientists and software developers involved in language technologies.

Important problem and excellent diversity of participants
The evaluation committee is enthusiastic about the high quality of the proposal:

‘Convincing scientific case; important problem, for which it seems timely to address it; concrete challenges and proposed solutions’
‘Direct involvement of key participants from Africa’
‘Excellent diversity of participants, very good balance of senior and junior participants as well as gender’

Venue and contact
We look forward to host this interesting and challenging workshop next year at the Lorentz Center. The workshop will be held from 31 May-4 June 2021, at our Snellius venue in Leiden, The Netherlands.

For more information, see our eScience program or contact Eduardo Herrera Malatesta

Procedure for Small Projects in context of NWA route Big Data

NWO has opened a call for a single proposal containing three small projects (50 kEuro each) within the context of each NWA route. The official call can be found here:

For the route ‘Value Creation through Responsible Access and Use of Big Data (aka the route Big Data)’ the boegbeeld Inald Lagendijk is invited to submit the eligible proposal. The management of the route has formulated an open and transparent process to select the three project to be included in the proposal. If you wish to submit a ‘Big Data’ proposal for a 50 kEuro project plan in the context of this NWA small projects call, please follow the procedure outlined on the page

Deadline for your submission is September 18, 2020.

Matchmaking event of ‘Initiatives’ for the NWA-ORC 2020/21 call

Recently the NWA-ORC 2020/21 has been opened, see—onderzoek-op-routes-door-consortia-2020-21/nationale-wetenschapsagenda—onderzoek-op-routes-door-consortia-2020-21.html

Submitting to NWO an Initiative is required to be eligible for submitting an NWA pre-proposal before October 1, 2020. After submission of the Initiative, the main applicant – or another participant in the consortium – has to take part in a Matchmaking Event of the indicated primary NWA-route. The matchmaking event for the NWA route Big Data will take place on October 28, 2020 (10:00 – 13:00 hr). If you plan to submit an Initiative, then please mark this date in your agenda.

If you are not planning to submit an Initiative, you are still welcome to the Matchmaking event. IN this case, registration is required via de NWO website.

We are looking forward to your proposals for the Small Projects call and the Initiatives for the NWA-ORC call.

In October 2014, a 2-day heavy rainfall event on the western coast of Norway caused major floodings. Hundreds of residents in the valleys around Flam needed to be evacuated, leaving houses, buildings and infrastructure severely damaged.

Research project TWEX was established to investigate such events in a future warming climate. The research answers questions such as: are the events more intense and what possible impact can we expect?

To assess these questions, research software engineers of the eScience Center performed simulations with the EC-Earth climate model of future high-precipitation situations. These simulations were used to drive hydrological models simulating the overflowing rivers along the Norwegian coast.

As a result, realistic future flooding scenarios for various river catchments were created, which may serve as a useful tool in guiding local authorities with their measures to adapt to a changing climate.

Publication details

Schaller, Sillmann, Müller, Haarsma, Hazeleger, Hegdahle, Kelder, van den Oord, Weert, Whan, The role of spatial and temporal model resolution in a flood event storyline approach in western Norway, in weather and climate extremes(September 2020).

The ongoing corona crisis is impacting the research community in many ways. The eScience Center is also affected directly as the crisis is impeding some of the projects that are executed together with our research partners.

To ensure a proper continuation and conclusion of eScience projects delayed or impeded by the crisis, the eScience Center has adopted a flexible mitigation policy, as follows:

  1. For all ongoing eScience projects awarded in joint calls with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the “Guidelines for ongoing projects as result of the corona crisis” (PDF) published by NWO on June 4, 2020 apply.

  2. For all ongoing projects awarded in eScience Center-only calls, the following guidelines apply:

    a. The starting date for projects for which the formal starting date expires before 31-08-2020 may be extended by up to 4 months. To be granted extension, the principal investigator (PI) must submit a request to the eScience Center.

    b. The submission of interim and final reports may be postponed by up to 4 months. To be granted postponement, the PI must submit a request to the eScience Center.

    c. Adaptations to the research plan, budget shifts or project extensions can be considered only if these alterations are budget neutral and do not change the primary research aims of the awarded project. The PI must submit a request for such alterations to the eScience Center.

  3. For all ongoing projects, also including eScience projects awarded in joint calls with NWO, any problems with the execution of the project, or the delivery of results, should be reported to the eScience Center.

    The eScience Center will consider incoming requests as soon as possible, typically within two weeks of submission. The aim is to respond to all requests under the above guidelines as flexible and accommodating as possible.

Formal requests and further questions

Formal requests for project alterations, as well as all further questions, must be sent directly to the eScience Coordinator associated with the project. The same message also must be sent to the Operations Department of the eScience Center (

Per 1 januari 2020 trad cultuurhistoricus Joris van Eijnatten aan als nieuwe directeur van het Netherlands eScience Center. Komend najaar presenteert hij een nieuw strategisch plan waarin de prioriteiten en werkwijze van het eScience Center in relatie tot de ontwikkeling en toepassing van research software aan bod komt.

Steven Claeyssens interviewde van Eijnatten voor e-data&research over zijn visie aangaande kennisoverdacht, DCC’s, de FAIR-principes en de verduurzaming van software. Het hele interview kun je hier lezen:

e-data&research, Jaargang 14 nummer 3 / juni 2020

Interview door Steven Claeyssens

Graphics processing units (GPUs) have emerged as a powerful platform because they offer high performance and energy efficiency at relatively low cost. They have been successfully used to accelerate many scientific workloads. Today, many of the top500 supercomputers are equipped with GPUs and are the driving force behind the recent surge in machine learning.

However, developing GPU applications can be challenging, in particular with regard to software engineering best practices, and the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of output results. While some of these challenges, such as managing different programming languages within a project, or having to deal with different memory spaces, are common to all software projects involving GPUs, others are more typical of scientific software projects.

In their paper, Lessons learned in a decade of research software engineering GPU applications, the research software engineers (RSEs) address the challenges that they have encountered and the lessons learned from using GPUs to accelerate research software in a wide range of scientific applications.

“Many of the GPU applications used as case studies in the paper were developed as part of eScience projects at the Netherlands eScience Center”, says Ben van Werkhoven, research software engineer at the Netherlands eScience Center. “Programming GPU applications is a specialized field and while many scientists develop their own code, GPU research software is often developed by research software engineers (RSEs) that have specialized in this field. The goal of the paper is really to share our experiences, hoping that others can learn from our mistakes as well as our insights.”

Lessons learned

The researchers of the paper recommend to carefully select and if needed rewrite the original application to ensure the starting point is of sufficient code quality and is capable of solving the problem at the scale the GPU application is targeting. When performance comparisons of different applications are of interest to the broader scientific community it is important that RSEs can publish those results, both for the community to take notice of this result and for the RSEs to advance in their academic career.

According to van Werkhoven “The reason to move code to the GPU is often to target larger, more complex problems, which may require the development of new methods to operate at higher resolutions or unprecedented problem scales. GPU code can be implemented in many different ways, resulting in large design spaces with, for example, different ways to map computations to the GPU threads. As such, auto-tuning, with tools such as Kernel Tuner, is often necessary to achieve optimal and portable performance.

Evaluating the results of GPU applications often requires carefully constructed test cases and expert knowledge from the scientists who developed the original code. In eScience projects, these are often the project partners with whom we are collaborating.”

The software sustainability of GPU research software remains an open challenge as GPU programming remains a specialized field and RSEs are often only involved during short-lived collaborative projects.

According to Ben, they will continue to use GPUs in scientific projects and expect to continue to do so for a long time. Recently, several new supercomputers were announced and all the big machines include GPUs because of their high performance and energy efficiency. In addition, they plan to further advance and apply GPU auto-tuning technology.

Watch the short video presentation about the paper “Lessons learned in a decade of research software engineering GPU applications”, which is part of the SE4Science 2020 workshop.

Join the discussion until June 12, 2020

If you would like to participate in the discussion after watching the video, add your question here.

The authors will respond to your comment as soon as possible.

Read full paper

Ben van Werkhoven, Willem Jan Palenstijn, Alessio Sclocco, Lessons learned in a decade of research software engineering GPU applications, International Workshop on Software Engineering for Computational Science (SE4Science 2020), ICCS 2020, Part VII, LNCS 12143. (preprint: arXiv:2005.13227).

The Netherlands eScience Center has changed the format of the scheduled information event for the eTEC 2020 and ASDI 2020 calls. Instead of a live online video streaming event, all the relevant information for both calls has now been made available on the eScience Center website.

This decision was made in order to give all participants equal access to all further information associated with the eTEC and ASDI calls. ‘Despite their immense value, video calls are often accompanied by technical issues that prevent some participants from receiving all the relevant information. We want to avoid such a situation and ensure an equal playing field for all potential applicants’, says Dr. Frank Seinstra, the eScience Center’s program director.

The information slide decks and Q&As can be found here:

Participants who have a question that is not listed on the Q&A page are advised to contact Tom van Rens (NWO, 070 344 0509) or Dr Frank Seintra (eScience Center, 020 460 4770) or send an email to or

Please note: the Q&A document will be updated regularly so please make sure to visit the page often.

The Lorentz Center and the Netherlands eScience Center invite researchers to join the Lorentz-eScience competition.

Every year the eScience Center and the Lorentz Center invite researchers to join the Lorentz-eScience competition. This competition aims to host a leading-edge workshop on digitally enhanced research (efficient utilization of data, software and e-infrastructure). The workshop should bring together researchers from the academic community and the public/private sector. The winner will organize a workshop at the Lorentz Center@Snellius in Leiden, the Netherlands.

What we seek
• an innovative scientific program, that takes us beyond current boundaries
• an open and interactive format, with few lectures
• at least one scientific organizer based within and one outside the Netherlands
• at least one scientific organizer from academia and one from the public/private sector

What we offer
• a 5-day workshop for up to 25 people in the first half of 2021
• travel and accommodation reimbursements
• no registration fees or other organizational costs
• a professional support organization, under the philosophy ‘you do the research, we do the rest’

• a 1-page expression of interest by 15 April
• a full application by 6 June
• final decision end of June
• submit applications to:

Please find answers to several FAQs here

Joris van Eijnatten
director Netherlands eScience
Henriette Jensenius,
scientific manager Lorentz Center

This year’s report provides a comprehensive overview of the organization’s activities in 2019. The report opens with a message from the acting Director Rob van Nieuwpoort and an overview of all projects and collaborations. This is followed by our main activities and events over the past year.

View a digital copy from our website

Advancing research through machine learning: an applied coding workshop

From 20 -24 January, the Netherlands eScience Center held a workshop on Machine Learning for Research at its offices at Amsterdam Science Park. 

During the workshop, which took place in a collaborative workspace, six teams from different disciplines and research institutions spent a week of hands-on work with machine learning experts from the eScience Center. Each team came equipped with their own data and went on to an intensive one-week collaboration with machine-learning experts from the eScience Center and SURF to explore the best machine learning strategy to tackle their research question.

The core focus of the workshop was on writing and developing code to analyze the data and apply suitable machine-learning techniques. This hands-on machine-learning experience was complemented by inspiring talks by the Director of the Netherlands eScience Center, Joris van Eijnatten, Maxwell Cai (SURF) on machine and deep learning, Vincent Warmerdam (GoDataDriven) on artificial stupidity, Jakub Tomczak (VU) on deep generative modeling and Florian Huber (eScience Center) on machine learning in research – dealing with the non-ideal.

“The workshop was a great experience. Together with my team, I got to actually focus on the research for 5 days without any interruption. The experts gave us enough time to work with our own data, providing us with good set of starting models we can refine. The talks were inspiring and informative. The trainers didn’t just explore the possibilities of machine Learning but also discussed its pitfalls.” – Eduard Klapwijk

“The best thing is we get to use our own data and work on our own problem instead of a hypothetical problem. It feels like we are actually getting somewhere instead of leaving the workshop with a very abstract view on machine learning tackling research problems” – Niala den Braber

“I was amazed by how motivated, persistent, and curious all teams were in exploring machine-learning options on all the great datasets they brought. Many participants started from a fairly basic understanding of machine-learning, but I really felt that their good knowledge about research and data allowed them to super quickly get a very good intuition about what machine-learning can and cannot do. I hadn’t expected that we would come that far in only one week.” – Florian Huber 


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