Eight new AI Labs open at Utrecht University

Since 11 May, Utrecht University has added another eight AI labs. The AI & Animal Welfare Lab, the Disc-AI Lab, the AI Lab for Sustainable Finance and five AI Labs at UMC Utrecht all officially opened at the Utrecht AI Labs event, bringing the number of AI Labs in Utrecht to a total of 14.

Banner AI Labs
Foto: Bas van Hattum

Director of AI Labs Thomas Dohmen is proud of the launch of the new labs. “In the labs, we bring research and real-world practice together by collaborating intensively with the business community, the public sector and other partners. The rise of AI presents many opportunities to address social challenges, but it also presents some new challenges in the areas of ethics and privacy. The work in the Labs is a way for us to find responsible applications of AI, while training the AI talent of tomorrow.”

AI & Animal Welfare Lab
One of the new labs is the AI & Animal Welfare lab. Here, zoologists, biologists and computer science researchers can collaborate with experts from breeding firms, sports associations and NGOs to find potential real-world applications of AI-based solutions. Some examples include smart sensors in barns and stables that record and measure whether animals are experiencing discomfort, or computer-controlled designs for horseshoes produced with a 3D printer.

This lab is unique in that the main focus is on the animal, explains Assistant Professor Mona Giersberg, who is also the lab coordinator. “The goal is to see how the animal experiences its environment and how it is feeling from the animal’s own perspective. We mainly want to use AI to add value for the animal itself, and not to utilise animals more efficiently for human purposes.”

To mine hidden knowledge
In the AI-aided Knowledge Discovery Lab, or ‘Disc-AI Lab’ for short, data researchers and specialists develop software and tools to facilitate the fast and efficient analysis of large text files. At the AI Lab for Sustainable Finance, data scientists work with researchers in the fields of artificial intelligence and finance, as well as practicing professionals. Their goal is to mine hidden knowledge from financial data sets in order to improve techniques for investigating money laundering and to enhance our knowledge of effective risk management and sustainable investment.

UMC Utrecht has a total of five AI labs that study the possibilities AI presents in the areas of preventive health care, diagnostics, treatment and mathematical modelling of disease. These labs will help UMC Utrecht reinforce its partnerships with Utrecht University and other stakeholders in the field of AI solutions.

More information
More about the AI Labs