Digital Society

Partners from Brabant sign cooperation agreement concerning big data

On 4 September 2015 in Berkel-Enschot, Tilburg University, the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Municipality of ’s-Hertogenbosch and the Provincial Government of Noord-Brabant signed a cooperation agreement in the field of big data. The intentions outlined included the founding of a new university study programme for master’s and post-master’s-level data scientists.

Societal digitisation is producing heretofore unimaginable quantities of data on, for instance, the use of products, the status of machines, clients, bodies, groups of people, transport and energy flows. This data offers large scale opportunities for the solution of societal problems. Furthermore, the data provides new economic opportunities for companies. By investing a total of € 40 million in this graduate school, Brabant will gain a decisive head start in the field of ICT-driven innovation. The intended new location for part of this study programme, which is scheduled to commence in 2016, is the former convent Mariënburg in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Every partner will invest € 10 million in the graduate school, subject to approval from the Municipal Council of ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Provincial Executive of Noord-Brabant, the Supervisory Board of the Eindhoven University of Technology [TU/e] and the Board of the Foundation behind Tilburg University as well as that of both universities’ works councils.

The investing parties have committed to making efforts to strengthen education, research and business development in the field of big data. The latter has the potential to develop into a new, internationally appealing pillar of the Dutch economy in the triangle between ’s-Hertogenbosch – Tilburg – Eindhoven. By setting up new forms of cooperation, the four partners from Brabant wish to gain a crucial advantage. The Big Data Value Association states that big data will provide a billion euro market in new European sales opportunities.

The four parties presented their plans on 4 September 2015 at the annual Koningshoeven meeting at which policymakers from Brabant meet at an abbey in Berkel-Enschot. Both universities will jointly provide bachelor education and master’s study programmes in the field of data science. This will partly take place on their own campuses and partly at a new, shared location in ’s-Hertogenbosch (the Mariënburg convent).

The study programmes are a response to the increased demand for data scientists

Around the world, data science is viewed as the field of the future. The quantity of data produced and its importance has increased exponentially in recent decades. There is huge demand for people with specialised knowledge. Data science can be viewed as the technological backbone for countless ICT innovations for solving societal problems in the fields of energy, healthcare and mobility. Investing in the graduate school will give Brabant a decisive advantage in the field of ICT-driven innovation.

The Provincial Government of Noord-Brabant, the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the two universities will therefore invest in these new programmes. As far as education is concerned there will be a number of new study programmes and tracks:
  • a joint Bachelor Data Science at TU/e and Tilburg University
  • a joint Master Data Entrepreneurship as part of the Mariënburg Graduate School Data Entrepreneurship (including a post-master’s study programme) in ’s-Hertogenbosch
  • a special master’s programme Data Science Engineering at TU/e
  • a special master’s programme Data Science Business & Society at Tilburg University

The aim is to make ’s-Hertogenbosch the third location in Brabant for data science. There the focus will be on combining data and entrepreneurship. This graduate school with study programmes at master’s and post-master’s level will cooperate closely in the field of research and knowledge valorisation with the business community. The latter will, as a result, benefit greatly from this reinforcement of Brabant’s knowledge base.

The combination of technical sciences (TU/e) and the humanities and social sciences (Tilburg University) will broaden expertise, making the joint initiative unique in Europe. Tilburg University has programmes that cover legal, government and economic aspects as well as entrepreneurship. The Eindhoven University of Technology will provide the IT side of data science and experience in entrepreneurship.

Alongside education and research, the location in ’s-Hertogenbosch will focus on facilitating start-ups, in-company training, masterclasses, events and conferences.
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For further information please contact:
Jan Speelman, spokesperson for Provincial Executive Bert Pauli:+316-18303450.
Tineke Bennema, spokesperson for Tilburg University: +316-19678521.
Herman Loerakker, spokesperson Municipality of ’s-Hertogenbosch: +316-22571480
Barend Pelgrim,
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven: +316-28782789