NWO Megamind

Professor Saskia Lavrijssen, Dr. Merel Noorman and Dr. Leonie Reins from the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT) participate in the interdisciplinary MEGAMIND project which is funded by the NWO Perspective programme.

Megamind stands for MEasuring, GAthering, and MINing Data. The Megamind project is led by lead applicant Koen Kok,  TuE professor of electrical engineering. Other technical universities are also involved such as Tu Twente (faculty of electric engineering, mathematics and computer science, mathematics of operation research) and  TU Delft (electrical engineering).

MEGAMIND focuses on the so-called edges of the electricity system: the distribution networks and the electricity producing and consuming devices connected to them. Electricity plays an important role in the energy transition. We see new devices connected to the electricity networks, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, while our electricity is increasingly generated through wind and solar.

This poses two challenges to our electricity system. Firstly, the increased demand and supply frequently overload cables and transformers in the network. Secondly, fluctuating power generation from solar and wind may imbalance the system. Artificial Intelligence may help addressing these challenges, by predicting when problems occur and by letting energy consuming and producing devices cooperate to avoid these situations. Then, the edges of the electricity system manage themselves.

The Megamind program aims to lift the mutual stranglehold between technology and regulation. If laws and regulations lag behind technological developments, they inhibit the innovation needed for sustainability, and vice versa.

The Tilburg researchers will link artificial intelligence research to innovation in legislation and regulation to accelerate the energy transition. They aim to develop fair and consistent regulatory strategies for facilitating and accelerating innovations at the edges of the electricity system and at the same time identify how local energy markets and AI systems can be designed in a fair way and legal way, incorporating public values and legal norms.

Project members