Zuid-Holland AI Hub Agenda 2022

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Zuid-Holland AI Hub Agenda 2022 Connecting people, business, talent and academia in the field of Artificial Intelligence


Colofon Authors: • Tim Franken (tim.franken@innovationquarter.nl) • Marlou Smulders • Jelmer Olsman (jj.olsman@pzh.nl) Editing by Bas van der Starre, Laurens de Kok & Erdem Bagir (Birch). Many thanks to the input of representatives from: • TU Delft (coordinator AI Convergence) • InnovationQuarter • Economic Board Zuid-Holland • TNO • Province Zuid-Holland • Security Delta • The Hague University of Applied Sciences • Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences • ROC Mondriaan

Any views and opinions expressed in this report are the responsibility of the authors.


Contents • Introduction • Goals & Strategic aims • Building blocks: 1.

Research & Innovation


Education & Human Capital


Startups & Scale-ups

• Hub governance


Introduction This Zuid-Holland AI Hub agenda aggregates all the initiatives and plans that strengthen the AI ecosystem of the region and contribute to the national AI strategy. It gathers efforts from all contributing stakeholders in one place and sets priorities for addressing regional challenges, focusing on specific themes and industries and the connection with national building blocks. Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides us with important tools to tackle societal challenges and increase economic benefits. The amount of data available has increased enormously, and many Artificial Intelligence technologies have proven themselves over the past ten years. The Zuid-Holland region combines a leading position in international AI research with great opportunities for implementation. The potential for economic and societal impact in several leading Dutch industries is enormous. The region has 160 active startups and scaleups with 4.300


employees (~22% of Dutch startups), large corporates investing in AI, three top universities, universities of applied sciences and two medical centers combining the efforts of ~1.500 researchers and a fast-growing talent pool of students. Nationally, the Dutch AI Coalition, together with knowledge institutes and private sector companies aims to place the Netherlands as a frontrunner in the application of AI. The coalition aims to increase corporations investing and implementing in AI and positively contributing to society with the use of AI. It has identified several issues that are holding the Netherlands back and designed a national strategy to address these bottlenecks. Zuid-Holland, one of the seven designated regional AI-hubs in the Netherlands, is in an important position to contribute to the national AI strategy.

The strategic aims of the Zuid-Holland AI Hub are threefold:

Goals & Strategic aims The Zuid-Holland AI Hub brings together knowledge institutions, companies and public authorities working with AI in Zuid-Holland to strengthen the regional ecosystem. This agenda lays out the vision and ambitions for 2022-2027 and provides the first overview of the building blocks for reaching these ambitions.

The hub aims to stimulate, incubate and implement AI initiatives, where relevant connected to the national AI strategy.

The hub aims to consolidate the results of these initiatives in the regional and national ecosystem.

The hub functions as a network through which best practices for AI entrepreneurship, knowledge spillovers and use cases are developed and disseminated throughout the ecosystem.

With these aims the hub adopts the following organising principles: •

The hub chooses focus areas that fit the regional profile of Zuid-Holland, provide the greatest opportunities for development and connect to the national AI strategy of the Dutch AI Coalition.

The hub, together with its partners in the community, organises the support network of the region by community building, acts as a regional point of contact and organises events.

The hub plays a supporting role in organising collaboration for large scale (national) projects and for projects in the region.

To reach these aims the hub has formulated three building blocks that use these organising principles as guidance. This agenda is a living document, it will be adapted to accommodate expansion and redirection.


Building blocks

Building blocks

Position Zuid-Holland


1 Research & Innovation

Strong position with three universities, two medical centres, four universities of applied science and ~1.500 researchers doing AI related work.2

Retaining a world leading position in research and creating opportunities for effective tech transfer.

A leading national and international profile on themes of governance, peace, justice and security,.

Zuid-Holland aims to be a leading region in adopting a responsible, human-centric approach to AI in which AI systems are developed in an ethically responsible and socially meaningful way

2 Education & Human Capital

Demand for AI talent is second highest in the Netherlands. Strong educational institutes provide talented new human capital.2

Stimulating efforts to meeting the high national and regional demand for AI talent.

3 Startups & Scale-ups

2nd largest AI start-up ecosystem in the Netherlands with a strong industrial focus.1

Scaling AI startups and connecting them with regional industry.

Zuid-Holland has several ambitions in developing its AI ecosystem. The actions in this agenda are aimed at contributing to these goals through the following building blocks: 1) Research & Innovation 2) Education & Human Capital 3) Startups & Scale-ups These building blocks are directly connected to the nationally formulated building blocks which shape the strategy of the Dutch AI Coalition.

1 2

Techleap (2021) Artificial Intelligence Startups & Scaleups in the Netherlands. Birch & Innovation Quarter (2020), Making AI work in The Netherlands.


Focus industries The Zuid-Holland hub focuses its AI activities around six specific focus industries. In each of these industries Zuid-Holland takes up a unique position in the Dutch innovation landscape and in an international context.1



Position Zuid-Holland

AI Challenge (not exhaustive)

Energy & Sustainability

One of the largest CO2 emission profiles of Europe, due to the large industrial and port & maritime complex which uses ~30% of energy demand in the region.

Building and operating an AI-controlled energy infrastructure that is efficient, safe and reliable and can contribute to sustainability goals.

Health & Care

Increasing efforts in AI of medical centres in Rotterdam and Leiden, combined with a life science cluster on Leiden Bioscience Park

High potential use cases are slowed down by limited accessibility to data. Concerns in privacy, safety and reliability need to be overcome for large scale adoption.

Port & Maritime

Europe’s biggest port is in Rotterdam and is surrounded by an internationally leading maritime industry.

Creating reliable, safe and resilient supply chains across transport modalities and designing autonomous ships.

Peace, Justice and Security

High concentration of NGO’s, international organizations, national government and intelligence services in The Hague and surroundings, together with a cybersecurity cluster.

Research and education is required to keep up with international peers on cyber security. Position in international justice provides opportunity for leadership on AI regulation and responsible use.

Technological industries

Cluster of high-tech manufacturing and specialised supplier firms for a.o. maritime & offshore, aerospace and agritech.

Building manufacturing that uses sensory input data to predict outcomes, make decisions and control robots and machines that manipulate the production process.

Agriculture & Food

Greenport West-Holland is an international leader in product and process innovation in horticulture.

Growing plants is increasingly done automatically. AI algorithms are already in use, but further dissemination and innovation is possible.

Birch & Innovation Quarter (2020), Making AI work in The Netherlands


As the Zuid-Holland AI hub, we aim to:

1. Research & Innovation

1. Continue to perform top quality research in AI and convert knowledge into innovations with AI. 2. Accelerate AI adoption for regional start-ups and SME’s. 3. Make the region into a testing ground for responsible AI.


The Zuid-Holland Knowledge institutes form the scientific back bone of the ZuidHolland AI hub and lead in research in AI and with AI that accelerates AI adoption and ensures that AI is used in a responsible way.

The availability of data and processing power and the quality of algorithms have increased exponentially in the last decade. New AI techniques have proven themselves to be useful tools in tackling societal challenges. Doing this in a transdisciplinary way will create new opportunities. Zuid-Holland has a strong position in research with three top tier universities, two medical research centres, TNO and three universities of applied sciences. Bringing fundamental and applied AI together makes it possible to push the boundaries of science. Zuid-Holland’s knowledge institutions host over ~1.500 AI experts and scientists applying AI in their field, driving research and innovation. The challenge will be to retain a world leading position in research and creating opportunities for effective tech transfer.


1.1 Top quality research and innovation The universities and the university medical centres* in Zuid-Holland have joined forces in the Convergence alliance for ‘AI, Data & Digitalisation’. The AI Convergence puts experts in AI, data and digitalisation front and centre together with domain experts. The alliance aims to integrate research ‘in AI’ (fundamental AI research) and research ‘with AI’ (applied AI research), crossing the boundaries between alpha, beta and gamma sciences and focusing on inter- and transdisciplinary projects. The mission of the AI Convergence is to be a globally leading cluster, where real solutions and applications in AI are developed for the challenges facing society. It is working on several research agendas to contribute to the big regional, national and international social challenges.

Energy & Sustainability

Technological industries

Health & Care

AI, Data & digitalisation

These challenges are embedded in five focus industries. As well as cooperation between universities and various disciplines, there is intensive collaboration with partners from industry, government and the public.

*LUMC is not yet formally a partner of the AI Convergence

See the convergence agenda for AI, Data & Digitalisation here.


Peace, Justice and Security

Port & Maritime


1.1 Top quality research and innovation Research efforts In addition to the convergence programme that integrates AI research across Zuid-Holland, each university has its own specialized AI research efforts.

Focus on data science research combined with economics and societal implications. Research takes place in the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics and the Erasmus Initiative of Societal Impact of AI

The Delft AI initiative, including 8 faculties and 29 AI labs, focuses on fundamental and applied AI engineering across five vertical focus areas, and two horizontals: machine learning and human centred AI.

Leiden University’s focus area is “the future of AI is human”. In its SAILS and LIACS initiatives it houses research fields such as innovative medical imaging, the hunt for candidate drugs and algorithms that help decision-making

Applied research is spearheaded by research ‘with AI’ in the convergence alliance, by TNO and by the universities of applied sciences (UAS). The UAS each have their focus areas:

Focus on responsible AI and its application in professional settings for digitalisation and societal transformation.

Focus on responsibly applied AI in Health, Safety, Industry (a.o. operations and security)

Focus on applying AI in bio-informatics and forensics.

TNO runs the national Appl.AI program, combining AI technologies with multidisciplinary expertise to create responsible system solutions. The program contains three roadmaps: intelligent vehicles and robots, federated decision making and AI systems engineering. Via use cases TNO collaborates with companies and the public sector to develop and apply AI innovations in different application areas. 10

1.1 Top quality research and innovation Fieldlabs and industry initiatives Zuid-Holland houses fieldlabs in which scientists, governments and industry (both SME and multinational) work together on AI-related innovation. •

RoboHouse: cognitive robotics for smart industry.

SAM|XL: automated production of composite constructions.

Do IoT: 5G and internet of things applications.

Digicampus: innovative digital government services.

Additionally, Zuid-Holland houses five scientific labs within the national ICAI (Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence) network. In these labs the TU Delft works together with partners and large corporates for AI innovations. •

AI for Bioscience Lab: production technologies and bio-based products

AI for Fintech Research Lab: AI in the context of financial technology

AI for Retail Lab: robotics innovations in the retail industry

Mercury Machine Learning Lab: travel booking and recommendation service systems

Police Lab AI: safety in a socially, legally and ethically responsible way.

NAIN: Dutch built AI for the Dutch language The NAIN consortium is led by Security Delta and TNO. In the coming five years the group will work on developing state of the art Dutch natural language processing (NLP) and automated speech recognition (ASR), to maintain digital sovereignty in the Netherlands and Flanders. The goal is to make this technology available to every Dutch speaking citizen and organisation, reducing their dependence for language technology on foreign (commercial) actors. UNESCO chair The Hague University of Applied Sciences has been awarded the UNESCO chair for ‘AI and Data Science for the society’. This chair gives it an international position and will contribute to accelerating regional and national initiatives.


1.1 Top quality research and innovation Industries

Applied research

Industry initiatives

Energy & Sustainability

AI Convergence: research in Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam focused on system integration, infrastructure, alternative sources, network simulation and predictive maintenance.

Start of the regional AI × Energy transition hub, exploring key challenges solvable by AI.

Health & Care

Convergence in Health&Technology and in AI for Health with research in imaging, drug discovery and ethics. Rotterdam UAS leads the Data Supported Healthcare research group. At The Hague UAS the research group Data Science focuses on Health

Medical Delta Living Labs.

AI Convergence research in Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam on autonomous shipping, proactive ship maintenance, journey planning and ship design.

Maritime AI agenda for shipping, manufacturing, logistics and asset management.

AI Convergence research on AI for safety and security, administration of justice, security of systems, and democratic principles of AI. The Hague UAS focuses on cybersecurity and legal tech related AI research, Leiden UAS has a strong focus on forensics.

Digicampus & GovTech accelerator

Technological industries

AI Convergence research in digital twinning and embodied AI. The Hague UAS focuses on sensors and smart manufacturing.

SMITZH, RoboHouse and RoboValley, SAM|XL.

Agriculture & Food

TU Delft's AgTech institute research on AI and robotics for optimizing yield, quality, efficiency and supply chain dynamics Multiple Centres of Expertise at The Hague UAS focus on AI in Agriculture & Food

Robocrops consortium, focused on combining sensors, AI and robotics

Port & Maritime

Peace, Justice & Security

All these activities together create an expansive field of top quality research and innovation, with focus on the spearhead industries. Together with the AI hub, these organisations will continue their efforts: •

The AI Convergence alliance of the three universities will further develop its research agenda for research in AI and with AI in focus industries. In collaboration with NLAIC thematical working groups and relevant stakeholders, researchers will build strong consortia for research projects, including future innovation labs, ELSA labs and value chain projects.

The Universities of Applied Science will expand their research efforts in applied AI research to further impact both regional innovation networks and professional development. The goal is to increase the number of (joint) research projects and expand the activities of collaborative projects such as the data labs.

The Zuid-Holland AI hub will continue to help industries to discover the potential of AI in applied research collaborations, enabling more industry initiatives. Existing fieldlabs will be used as a launchpad.


1.2 Accelerating AI adoption in the region An important issue in economic competitiveness based on AI innovation is the degree to which small and medium enterprises can incorporate new tools and methods into their business practices. Therefore, in addition to focused spearhead industry efforts, the Zuid-Holland AI Hub deploys initiatives for startups and SMEs. An important link between AI and application for SMEs are the universities of applied sciences. Several Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) programs aimed at SMEs are currently underway: •

The Rotterdam UAS has founded the Datalab: Living lab AI & Ethics. This aims to develop practical instruments for SMEs to work with AI.

The ‘The Hague AI & Datalab’ serves as a single point of entry for organisations and businesses (focusing on SMEs) with questions on AI and Data Science. It encompasses a wide array of research groups and educational programmes within THUAS. The lab works on solutions for data related challenges with internships, graduation projects and research projects to provide a.o. methods, data collection, analysis. The Hague AI & Datalab works closely with the Big Data Innovation Hub in Zoetermeer.

Other planned actions are: •

To facilitate the education, research and innovation ambition, a hybrid campus will be developed, with hotspots in Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam, connected by a virtual network of new and existing AI labs. The hotspot will be on the TU Delft Campus and open to students, scientists, startups and SMEs to collaborate on new AI applications.

TU Delft and Erasmus University will offer SME clinics, a one day workshop where multiple SMEs will be hosted at the TU Delft House of AI and ECDA. They will be paired with AI researchers and/or with Data Science students, to identify data problems which are of strategic importance, discuss possible solutions and develop a roadmap.


1.3 Testing ground for human centric AI AI will have a huge effect on how we interact with digital systems and services. The application of AI should therefore be an interplay between the deployment of effective technology and norms and values that belong to a democratic, digital constitutional state. Civilians need to be able to make the right choices when using AI in their daily lives and should (if possible) be involved in developing new AI services. The Zuid-Holland AI hub looks for ways to learn together and discover the best and most desirable AI solutions that are transparent, inclusive and explainable. This follows the ambition of the European Union to lead in adopting a responsible, human-centric approach to AI in which systems are developed in an ethically responsible and socially meaningful way. This is not solely achieved by the implementing regulation. It also requires experimentation in a sandbox environment. Findings and results should be shared between labs, institutions and organizations for optimal results and implementation. Some of the areas we focus on are privacy-proof information sharing, decision support systems, and the application of language and speech technology.1

ELSA labs (I) Zuid-Holland houses the first Dutch ELSA (‘ethical, legal, societal aspects’) labs for artificial intelligence. •

ELSA Lab Defence is coordinated by TNO The Hague and run with TU Delft, Leiden University, The Hague UAS and six other partners and will develop a future-proof, independent, and consultative ecosystem for responsible use of artificial intelligence in defence. The Dutch Ministry of Defence sees Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a crucial tool for maintaining peace and security, as it can, for example, enable rapid processing of big data and can result in the development of intelligent, unmanned robots. The ELSA lab addresses issues related to the use of AI in Defence systems, including the many ethical, legal and social questions, e.g. how to ensure AI systems remain under meaningful human control, and how to maintain the human touch when giving autonomy to machines.

Zuid-Holland wants to become a leading region in adopting a responsible, human centric approach to AI in which AI systems are developed in an ethically responsible and socially meaningful way.


NLAIC (2022). AI-toepassingen voor veiligheid, vrede en recht – Effectief, veilig en mensgericht. Position paper.


1.3 Testing ground for human centric AI The following actions, coordinated by the Zuid-Holland AI hub partners will cement the position of Zuid-Holland as a leader for human centric AI: •

Organising the annual 'The Hague Conference on Responsible AI for Peace, Justice and Security’, lead by the ministries of Justice & Security and Foreign Affairs with the municipality of The Hague.

Organise Hackathon for Good, where specialists from all over the world team up to tackle relevant societal challenges set by governments and NGO’s. Lead by The Hague Tech and WorldStartup with support from the municipality of The Hague.

Enhance network organisations located in the area such as CLAIRE, ELLIS and ALLAI, making Zuid-Holland the designated region for responsible AI.

Support the Consortium Public Oversight AI: an initiative to monitor and audit algorithm to create transparent decisions.

Support the development of Data Sharing/Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET) sandboxes for governments to test technologies that enable data sharing in GDPR compliant environments and allow analysis of AI transparency.

ELSA labs (II) Zuid-Holland houses the first Dutch ELSA (‘ethical, legal, societal aspects’) labs for artificial intelligence. •

The Multi-Agency Public Safety ELSA lab (AI-MAPS) is led by Erasmus University Rotterdam, together with 27 regional and national partners, including TU Delft, Leiden University, TNO and The Hague UAS. The lab focuses on public safety in which the role of data is increasingly important for prevention, readiness and damage control. The aim is to develop a trusted ecosystem in which AI assisted public safety is designed by public and private partners.


2. Education & Human Capital

As the Zuid-Holland AI hub, we aim to: 1.Strengthen, increase and improve AI education across all levels and disciplines in regular education and increase the flexibility of education. 2.Develop AI skills in the current workforce. 3.Attract new AI talent to the region. Context

The Zuid-Holland AI hub aims to strengthen all sources to educate and train people working with AI to improve AI readiness.

AI is a system technology1 that is set to have enormous impact on all facets of society. This creates a necessity for employees trained to work in and with AI, in preparation of this transition. The entire labour force will come in contact with AI and will require new knowledge and skills to meet these changes head on. This is not limited to highly specialised knowledge workers, although these specialists play a key role. It also encompasses other employees, many of which will require a basic level of knowledge and skills in AI to guide the transition and to apply AI to their domain or to interpret AI in their organisation. Attracting and retaining, skilling and developing this talent for the region is an important success factor for the development of AI. Collaboration on human capital in Zuid-Holland is organised a.o. through the Human Capital Agenda. It comprises projects that serve the current and future labour market. It aims to enable (higher) vocational education and universities (mbo, hbo & wo) to produce employable students and help current employees develop their skills further in lifelong development. Collaboration on education is organised by the AI hub in a working group for education and through other educational initiatives in the region.


2.1 AI Education across all levels and disciplines It is the vision and ambition of all the education institutes to develop more and better AI education in Zuid-Holland considering the critical role of AI in the future and the increasing demand for AI skills. The education institutes (mbo, hbo and wo) in Zuid-Holland are stepping up to the challenge. Currently, public educational institutes have multiple options to study AI available, either to gain deep expertise in AI or to learn about AI application within a specific domain.1 Other new education efforts are currently being developed, in close cooperation with the education working group of the Dutch AI Coalition. •The collected education institutes of Zuid-Holland have started a dedicated AI working group, which will explore how the region can collectively strengthen AI education in the region. •The institutes will work jointly on open AI (online) learning materials across institutes to make education more efficient and effective. •The institutes will review closely how to work together to also stimulate input and throughput of students in the field of AI. The following provides an overview of current plans and ambitions in AI education. It is expected that this overview will be expanded in the following years through increased collaboration and vision. Based on the education platform of the Dutch AI Coalition. Bachelor & Master data includes application domain programmes in other areas that have the option of an AI-related specialisation. 1


2.1 AI Education across all levels and disciplines AI in (higher) vocational education Current activities (summary)

In development and future actions

Rotterdam UAS currently provides Data Science and AI specialisations within the computer science, creative media, building information management and game technology programmes. Additionally, it is expanding the application of AI within business, engineering, healthcare and arts education.

• •

The Hague UAS

The Hague UAS currently provides Data Science and AI education within applied mathematics and as specialisation tracks in its IT bachelors. Twelve minors provide applied AI knowledge for engineering, business, finance, governance, legal and security education. There are several master education specialisations for big data and machine learning.

• • • •

A new bachelor: “Applied Data Science & AI” is in development and will start in September 2022. The Hague UAS participates in the development of AI-translator and Data Driven Innovation. The Hague UAS is developing an engineering master with a specialisation in data science. A new applied datalab will bring together students and researchers to work on practical AI problems.

Leiden UAS

Leiden UAS provides several domain specific programmes that integrate AI, in areas such as bioinformatics, data management, forensics and robotics.

Vocational education (mbo)

Several software and industry programmes incorporate elements of AI.

Ambition is to expand the impact of AI in mbo, both in teaching domain specific AI skills and teaching on the impact of AI in civic development.

Rotterdam UAS

• •

A new bachelor: “Applied Data Science & AI” is in development and will start in September 2022. Rotterdam UAS participates in the development of two countrywide cross-sectoral masters: AItranslator and Data Driven Innovation. The UAS has set the goal to make ‘AI & Ethics’ dominant in educational and scientific efforts. The AiRA datalab combines research with educations and aims to teach deep learning principles to all students.


2.1 AI Education across all levels and disciplines AI in university education AI Convergence (TU Delft, Erasmus University, Erasmus MC, Leiden University and LUMC)

Current activities (summary)

In development and future actions

The convergence alliance is aimed at education ‘in AI’, that seeks to deepen AI expertise, and ‘with AI’ that seeks to enable students to apply AI in a specific domain. The alliance actively collaborates in forming (interdisciplinary) AI education and has the ambition to educate 85.000 students in and with AI.

• • • •

TU Delft

Leiden University

Erasmus University

Explore how to expand, strengthen and connect its education in AI, data & digitalisation, so that students of all disciplines are prepared for the role AI will have in their field of study. Develop and pilot minor programmes on AI, such as Engineering with AI and AI & Society for students to apply AI in their domains. Explore how elective education provides exchange possibilities for students between institutes and make education available for alumni with regards to lifelong learning. Share and develop open educational resources for efficient AI education

The TU Delft provides Data Science and AI education in the bachelor Computer Science & Engineering, master Computer Science tracks Data Science & Technology and AI Technology and the master Robotics. The minors Computer Science, Engineering with AI and Robotics provide applied AI knowledge.

• •

Leiden University provides a new bachelor Data Science & AI besides their Computer Science bachelor programme. They also offer the minor Data Science and AI. Other examples are courses such as AI and Neurocognition in the bachelor Psychology, Law and AI in the bachelor internet Law, and a Robotics & AI honours class. It also offers an Artificial Intelligence Specialization in the Computer Science Master.

• •

The new minor AI & Society from a legal perspective will start in September 2022. Students from all disciplines will be able to join this minor. The SAILS initiative explores the possibility for offering AI elective courses to students

Several software and industry programmes incorporate elements of AI.

• • •

The new minor AI & Society from a holistic perspective will start in September 2022. The EUR is actively seeking collaboration opportunities with the ICT Campus Rotterdam. A new AI master programme will be developed.

• •

A new master: “Data Science & AI Technology” is in development. The Engineering with AI minor is in the process of being scaled to accommodate more students and more diverse profile of students (incl. Leiden and Erasmus students) AI master blocks are being developed for master students to choose as electives in their 2nd master year to prepare them to apply AI to their domain thesis project. An AI honours programme is currently in development.


2.2 Development of AI skills To ensure that people fulfil a role in society impacted by AI we cannot rely on just recently graduated people. This requires broader education of our existing labour force. Accelerating lifelong development opportunities for current workers is a crucial part in improving the AI readiness of the ZuidHolland economy. Universities and universities of applied sciences currently offer an extensive suite of post-initial training, (online) courses and executive education on AI. All institutes present are planning to expand this offering for alumni and current workers. Elements of AI is a free online course, offering insights to participants on the basis of AI. It has had up to 630.000 European participants enrolled. The TU Delft and NLAIC are working on making this course available in Dutch, to make it more accessible for the public. Two regional IT skill development tracks will contain AI elements: Next Maritime Professional & Next Healthcare Professional. These both aim to broaden the IT skillset of workers in industries, which will also comprise AI training. Through Next Maritime Professional, there are currently 7 accessible data science and AI training programmes available for workers in the port of Rotterdam.

The AI hub partners will take the following actions: •In the convergence alliance TU Delft, Erasmus University and Leiden University aim to reach 85.000 alumni with new to-be-developed AI modules. The universities are pooling their lifelong education resources and post academic education. At TU Delft extracurricular projects such as PhD training, offering for lifelong learning (such as AI skills for engineers) are in development. At Erasmus University mini modules or challenges will be organised for alumni and executives. •The universities of applied science will lead the formation of Learning Communities (AiNed instrument). In cooperation with creative industry and the AI-hub, six UAS will initiate the learning community ‘Digital Humans’ that forms a network under the structure of Dutch AI Coalition. The learning community will offer innovation courses and training and retraining courses in AI for local entrepreneurs. •The WE-IT programme, part of the Human Capital Agenda Zuid-Holland, aims to educate 3.000 IT professionals. As part of the Make IT Work project a retraining programme for AI skills with job guarantee is in development. •In the Human Capital Agenda 2.0 iteration, Zuid-Holland aims to further explore how to deepen the role of AI in human capital projects.


2.3 Attract new AI Talent The demand for AI talent has been high and is increasing. Vacancies for AI skilled professionals are increasingly hard to fulfil, and the student capacity of universities is limited1 due to shortages in teaching staff. The region requires more investments in knowledge and talent attraction for the further development and implementation of AI in the Netherlands. The fourth route of the Zuid-Holland Human Capital Agenda focuses on attracting and retaining international talent, AI is one of the priority skillsets within this programme. The Zuid-Holland AI hub will contribute to, connect and strengthen the initiatives and plans that attracts new AI Talent to the region.


Birch & Innovation Quarter (2020), Making AI work in The Netherlands

The AI hub partners will take the following actions: •

The educational institutes will expand their efforts to attract new teaching talent to expand student capacity.

The national ‘Teach the Teacher’ programme aims to train educational staff on applying AI in their domain. Rotterdam UAS will develop two AI for healthcare sections for the programme. This programme will also be developed for the universities’ teaching staff. Besides, the UAS of The Hague and Rotterdam will together develop a course to educate new IT teachers.

The AI hub will help startups and scale-ups to promote themselves as an interesting employer for AI talent, for instance through the channels of Zuid-HollandAI.org.

The AI hub will explore organising a career fair with universities for startups and scale-ups in Zuid-Holland, aimed at all (international) students in their final year of studies, whether that's Bachelors, Masters or PhD.


As the Zuid-Holland AI hub, we aim to:

3. Startups & Scale-ups

1. Increase connections, knowledge-sharing and partnerships within the regional AI community and encourage cooperation among initiatives which aim to support the AI ecosystem. 2. Brand the Zuid-Holland region as an attractive AI ecosystem, to enable AI start-ups and scale-ups to find their way to and in Zuid-Holland. 3. Connect AI start-ups and scale-ups to relevant challenges, data sources and innovation projects in focus industries and the public sector to improve regional AI readiness.

The Zuid-Holland AI hub aims to further develop the regional startup ecosystem, to grow the number of leading AI startups and scale-ups and attract more entrepreneurial activity to the region.

Context Zuid-Holland is leveraging its position as a leading AI ecosystem for startups and scale-ups. Steady growth is foreseen in both the number and size of startups and scale-ups in the region who support, develop or apply AI technology. Many of these startups address societal challenges, both in The Netherlands and beyond. They solve complex logistical problems in the world’s largest port areas, contribute to accelerating the energy transition, improve medical care and help to solve global food supply issues. Zuid-Holland has a high concentration of start-ups1 working on societal challenges in the spearhead industries. Also, there is a substantial pool of companies with more general AI solutions.

InnovationQuarter & Birch Consultants (2020). Making AI work in The Netherlands - Zuid-Holland as hub for Data Science & Artificial Intelligence in the Netherlands 1


3.1 Increasing cooperation between support organizations The region hosts a richness of initiatives supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem for (AI-driven) start-ups and scale-ups. While this is an asset, it is also a point of attention. The multitude of different parties and initiatives leads at times to overlap, which creates potential inefficiencies for entrepreneurs trying to find their way to the right supporters. This calls for more cooperation and coordination.





Public Funding

UNIIQ (350k*) Graduate Entr. Fund (75k*) Delft Enterprises

IQ Capital (300k – 4M*) UNIIQ (350k*) MIT (20k-50k*) Delft Enterprises SBIC (50k*) YES!Funded (fundraising) Delft Enterprises

IQ Capital (300k-4M*) MIT (20k-50k*)

Community & Network

YES!Delft Erasmus Enterprise SBIC PLNT Leiden Crosspring

YES!Delft CIC Rotterdam The Hague Tech Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship SBIC Security Delta Up!Rotterdam PLNT Leiden Crosspring

CIC Rotterdam Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship The Hague Tech Up!Rotterdam Security Delta Techleap

Incubator & accelerator programs

PLNT Leiden ECE Student Founders Program YES!Delft AI/BC Validation Lab

YES!Delft AI/BC Validation ECE Incubator Program PortXL ESA BIC Noordwijk Crosspring

YES!Delft Acceleration Program Erasmus Scaling Programme PortXL Techleap Rise Programme DutchBasecamp

Talent acquisition


TechGrounds YES!Talents

TechGrounds Erasmus Enterprise Talent Event

Based on current state of support in the ecosystem for AI start-ups and scale-ups, we can take several actions to further increase the chances of success for start-ups from the region. •

Explore the specific needs of AI scale-ups and use these insights to improve programming and guidance.

Connect support organizations in order to provide a unified offering of support (through Zuid-Holland AI)

Help start-ups and scale-ups navigate support initiatives.

Supporting organizations include InnovationQuarter, YES!Delft, SBIC Noordwijk, The Hague Tech, Security Delta, Up!Rotterdam, Crosspring, PLNT Leiden, and ECE Rotterdam cooperate to guide early-stage digital companies and to develop the ecosystem supporting them.

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3.2 Showcasing the Zuid-Holland AI community The Zuid-Holland region is a hotspot for AI start-ups and scaleups in The Netherlands with ~25% of Dutch AI companies.1 The region shows a steady growth in both the number and size of start-ups and scale-ups that support, develop and apply AI systems. This provides a vibrant and internationally renowned AI cluster, which can attract (international) talent and new entrepreneurial activity and leading companies to the region. To realize this potential, several steps will be taken to showcase the Zuid-Holland AI Community. •

Improve the use of business intelligence. For example, we update the regional AI market map and have enabled the representation of Zuid-Holland and the Netherlands in the European AI Startup Landscape (ai-startups-europe.eu).

Showcase AI-related activities in Zuid-Holland. For example, showcasing success stories of start-ups and industry collaborations through the Zuid-HollandAI.org platform.

Improve connections between startups, universities and investors. There is room for improvement as the regional AI community is fragmented. Hence we provide a platform to promote events, news and relevant content in Zuid-Holland.


InnovationQuarter (2021). Zuid-Holland: Hotstpot for mission-driven AI


3.3 Boosting AI readiness and demand The huge potential of AI is recognized by innovation leaders at companies in Zuid-Holland. However, there are untapped opportunities in existing industries. Most corporates indicate that they are actively involved in R&D activities, but significant investments in the development and implementation of AI have yet to follow. This is apparent from the relatively small teams of data scientists, data engineers and AI experts at large companies. There is room for the public and private sector in ZuidHolland to boost investments, development and implementation. The Zuid-Holland AI hub will broadcast this urgency and spur public and private organisations for investments, research and implementation of AI. We will do that through the following actions: •

Identifying major challenges and opportunities for AI applications of key importance for Zuid-Holland. Connect companies with these challenges with the providers of AI solutions.

Identifying barriers within organizations, that limit the implementation of AI, both in the private and public sector.

Support promising consortia and partnerships, who are addressing these challenges and opportunities through networking and project assistance.

The Zuid-Holland AI hub is currently working with several promising partnerships, such as “AI for the energy transition”. To gain better insight into the challenges and opportunities in ZuidHolland, InnovationQuarter, TU Delft and nlmtd have conducted an exploration into AI as an accelerator of the energy transition. In an extensive report, eight key challenges were identified with opportunities for AI-driven applications.1 During the exploration, key players in the Zuid-Holland energy transition were discussed, such as companies in the field of energy generation, transport, storage and distribution; but also with building owners, industry players, trading/retail and governments

Nlmtd, InnovationQuarter & TU Delft (2021). AI als versneller van de Energietransitie In Zuid-Holland.


4. Hub governance The Zuid-Holland AI Hub has a light and decentralized governance approach (see figure on page 27).

Hub managers: InnovationQuarter & TU Delft •

Responsible for hub strategy, financial planning and communication. Overseeing the total of hub activities within the building blocks.

Hub partners play an active role in the different building blocks. Theme leads are appointed to coordinate activities of the corresponding theme/building block.

Act as the first point of contact for the Zuid-Holland AI Hub in relation to NL AI Coalition and external relations.

Act as first point of contact for the corresponding building block/theme.

The hub managers InnovationQuarter and TU Delft (coordinator AI Convergence) oversee the total of activities.

Contribute to community building and initiate and contribute to innovation projects in Zuid-Holland.

Are responsible for their building block/theme for the connection with the NL AIC workgroup(s).

Theme leads: lead partners for the coordination of building blocks activities


Hub governance overview NL AI Coalition: Management

Hub management Lead: InnovationQuarter & TU Delft

1 Research & Innovation Lead: TU Delft, TNO & Security Delta

Hub partners

2 Education & Human Capital

3 Startups & Scale-ups

Lead: TU Delft, Rotterdam UAS, EBZ

Lead: InnovationQuarter

NL AI Coalition: working groups

Partners of the Zuid-Holland AI Hub

Contact us through: www.zuid-hollandai.org or info@zuid-hollandai.org 28