Festive opening AI Labs of Utrecht University

Last Tuesday, March 22, we celebrated the festive opening of the AI Labs at Utrecht University. The mission of the AI labs is to bridge the gap between educational and professional practice by connecting students, researchers and organisations. Together they work on societal challenges by means of AI and data science and further develop the knowledge and skills of students and professionals.

Audience during the opening of the AI Labs

Over 300 guests

During the opening, Utrecht University welcomed more than 300 guests, including junior and senior researchers, and representatives from public and private sectors, research and educational institutes, regional and national partner networks and more.

The afternoon started with a short welcome speech by Thomas Dohmen, Director of the AI Labs, and Professor Anton Pijpers, President of the Executive Board. Subsequently the guests could choose between various AI workshops on mobility, sustainability, media, police and safety, education, healthy living, public services and chemistry to learn more about these themes, the labs’ ambitions and ongoing projects.

AI & Sustainability

Audiebde during workshop of AI Labs

One of the workshops was by the AI & Sustainability Lab. This lab is led by Professors Derek Karssenberg and Marc van Kreveld and is centered around the challenges of advancing research in geo-sustainability by means of AI and data science. For example, by focusing on explainable AI and large-scale data analysis, researchers realised a tool that ‘knows’ where which kind of trees are located in the Netherlands, and can use this information to predict where pollen will be spreading. The latter could potentially make the life for hay fever patients a lot easier through peak seasons.

Societal challenges

The afternoon gave a glimpse in the various societal challenges the AI labs are addressing and how different departments, faculties and other institutions collaborate to find new solutions. AI labs offers students from various disciplines the opportunity to collaborate on projects and there is more to come.

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