Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Boost to AI in Amsterdam with new AUAS Centre of Expertise

9 Feb 2021 09:00 | HvA Expertisecentrum Applied Artificial Intelligence

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is the first knowledge institution in the Netherlands to create a Centre of Expertise on Applied Artificial Intelligence, together with partners from the business community and the public sector. This will give a major boost to knowledge on applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Amsterdam region. A unique feature of this Centre of Expertise is that students from all degree programmes at the AUAS can learn through labs how to apply AI in their fields of study; from nursing and ICT to teacher training.

Currently, AI algorithms, which are really ‘self-learning’ systems, support us in things like navigation on the web or with chatbots. More and more possibilities are being developed, and this has an impact on all fields and on what employees need to be able to do. In the Netherlands, there is therefore an urgent need for more knowledge and talent in relation to AI, particularly from SMEs and the public sector.

As the largest knowledge institution in the Amsterdam region, the AUAS is responding to this need by establishing a Centre of Expertise on Applied Artificial Intelligence to help businesses and public organisations in this transition. The AUAS is working on this with several partners, including AI Technology for People, knowledge institutions in Amsterdam, the City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Data Science and the Amsterdam Economic Board.


All professions are changing

The AUAS is taking a broad approach with the new CoE: the aim is for all AUAS students to acquire the latest skills and knowledge in order to apply AI in their own fields. To do this, 7 labs have been created (in fields including retail, media, healthcare and education), which also have links with the sectors themselves.

By doing so, the AUAS wants to contribute to more knowledge about AI in the region, while also better preparing students themselves for the future, as many professions will change due to the new applications. Whereas an accountant can currently distinguish himself by being good at mathematics, for example, this will soon be an ideal task for AI. Healthcare professionals are likely to use AI support in the future in to predict certain conditions better. Business owners will have to be able to interpret and apply AI, to respond to further digitalisation. And in education, AI can help lecturers by looking at how pupils or students learn, for example. The AUAS has set up a lab for this too.

Ethical aspects

The Centre of Expertise will pay extra attention to the ethical aspects of AI. Because algorithms can exclude certain information, which may not always be desirable for users. Through the Responsible AI Lab, the AUAS will explore how to design inclusive and responsible AI solutions.

Finally, the AUAS will investigate the impact of AI on the professional field and society. The aim is to achieve inclusive, responsible AI, geared towards the user. Among other things, this will result in tools, instruments and training courses for businesses, municipal authorities and public organisations. In this way, the AUAS will become an important player in AI, as the university of applied sciences focuses on practical application in addition to the theoretical knowledge developed by research universities.

About Centres of Expertise (CoEs)

The first Centres of Expertise were launched in 2011 as an important innovation in vocational and higher professional education. They work in co-creation – with the business community, public organisations and citizens – on social solutions that have a positive impact. Based on current issues in the Amsterdam region, the AUAS has clustered its research and education in several CoEs, with each theme linked to a social or metropolitan theme that is important to Amsterdam.

In the seven faculty labs of the Centre of Expertise Applied AI work will be carried out on innovation within the various areas of application in co-creation – with education, research, the business community and civil society organisations.

Impact on education

Innovation in education is an important priority area of the CoE. The faculty labs are linked to one or more degree programmes. Students and faculty are involved through projects, minors and Master’s programmes on digitalisation and AI. Take the minors in Legal Tech (through the Legal Tech Lab of the same name) and FinTech (through the Finance Lab), for example. Or the Master’s programme in Digital Driven Business (through the Centre for Market Insights).

The CoE has taken the initiative to develop a professional Master’s degree in Applied Artificial Intelligence, which it aims to offer from September 2022. In addition, a methodology is being developed to help all degree programmes become AI-ready. The CoE has already started offering introductory AI training courses to lecturers to build expertise within its own organisation.

Do you have questions or would you like to work together? Then send an email to appliedai@hva.nl

More information can be found at: www.amsterdamuas.com/ai