Report 3rd National eScience Symposium

9 Oct 2015 - 3 min

A broad range of scientists and researchers discussed how scientific practice is being revolutionized by the increased capacity to harness the power of computing technology. The innovative scientific and technological interventions that result are being used to address the grand societal challenges of the coming years, such as climate change, increased population size and aging, resource scarcity and increased urbanization. 


The day began with introductions from NLeSC CEO Prof. Wilco Hazeleger and chairman of the NLeSC board, Jan de Jeu. The plenary program featured four keynotes. Prof. José van Dijck, the newly appointed president of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), spoke about digitization and humanities research and Prof. Alexander Rinnooy Kan discussed the role of ICT and Big Data in research from the perspective of his role as chair of the National Science Agenda. Prof. Leonard Smith from the University of Oxford spoke about “Doing Science in the Dark” and Tony Hey from the University of Washington discussed eScience and the Fourth Paradigm for Scientific Discovery. 

Watch all videos from the morning plenary session here.

Large broad audience

In total, more than 650 people registered for the event with more than 450 in attendance. So large was the audience that the Twitter hashtag “#nlesc15” was at times trending Nationally. The symposium participants ranged across researchers (from academia and industry), students, data scientists, scientific administrators, CIOs and CTOs from chemistry, physics, biology, social science, computer science, mathematics and the humanities. 

5 track agenda 

In addition to the plenary track, a large part of the day was devoted to five scientific tracks, each featuring an international keynote and organised in collaboration with a partner organisation. The largest track was focussed on disruptive computer and data science and organised in collaboration with IPN. A track devoted to life sciences & ehealth was organised with the Dutch Techcenter for Life Sciences (DTL) and another on humanities and social sciences organised with the eHumanities group of KNAW. Finally, tracks on physics, with Nikhef and environment & sustainability with KNMI completed the agenda. 

Young eScientist Award 

An additional highlight of the event was the announcement of Dr. Wim Otte as the Young eScientist of the Year 2015. More information  here.