Amsterdam Science Park centre of Big Data revolution

Amsterdam Science Park has been in the news rather more than usual lately. The park’s ground-breaking research has been highlighted in the Financiele Dagblad’s ongoing series on big data, while last week the Volkskrant focused on its towering data centres. For park director Leo le Duc, the coverage reflects “an increasing awareness of Amsterdam Science Park’s importance, as well as the far-reaching impact of data science and its disruptive effects in many fields. Here at the park, we are having a much bigger influence on the world than people ever realized before, and now our contribution is beginning to be widely recognized.”

In the past, he explains, the park’s work was seen in isolation. “Innovation starts with fundamental research,” he says. “Twenty years ago, such research was seen as relevant only to the world of science. Now, we have important connections to business, and our research institutes have been joined by spin-offs and start-ups. Many big companies have bases here, including KPN, AKZO Nobel, DSM, and Tata Steel. Bosch is the latest arrival, with the new UvA- Bosch DELTA Lab. Having these companies close to the source of fundamental research is speeding up innovation.”

The early development of the Internet technology in the 1990s which took place at Amsterdam Science Park , is currently impacting society in ways which our researchers back then could never have imagined, and Le Duc points out that history is set to repeat itself with today’s fledgling disciplines. “Here at the park we are currently developing quantum software, contributing to the quantum computing revolution which will one day, but I am sure sooner than we foresee, change everything through super-fast, super-safe computers,” he says. “The same applies to deep –and machine learning techniques. Then there are the next generation of Nano materials which we are researching here, these have the potential to enormously increase the efficiency of solar cells, boosting sustainable energy methods, and will have a huge impact on medical technologies and treatments.”

“Amsterdam Science Park is a mixed and open environment”

These current developments are exciting, as is the growth of Amsterdam Science Park itself, he adds. “We are in a great position as we have the knowledge and the infrastructure needed to accelerate innovations like no one else,” he says. “These possibilities draws people to us. Soon Matrix Innovation Center starts with our next multi-tenant lab – and office building, which it seems will be fully booked even before construction begins. This indicates how attractive we are. Amsterdam Science Park is a mixed and open environment. Companies who invest here aren’t just renting space – they are becoming part of a unique community with the potential to transform the world by applying the fruits of fundamental research.”