Students can enroll next week for the new Data Science program of Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology. It was announced last week that the first Dutch university Data Science Bachelor’s program will be launched in September 2016. The Data Sience and Entrepreneurship Master’s program is due to start in the former Mariënburg convent in ‘s-Hertogenbosch at the same time.
The Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) has approved the audit for new studies of the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs and has formally accredited the programs. For the first academic year of 2016-2017, Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilburg University are aiming for some 80 Bachelor’s students, and 40 students taking the Master’s program.
Broad initiative called JADS
The new academic programs are part of a broad cooperation between four Brabant parties: the Province of North Brabant, the city of ’s-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg University and Eindhoven University. The name of this cooperation will be JADS, Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. Apart from educational programs, it involves the establishment of a new Graduate School in the former Mariënburg convent, research in the field of data science, and the building of an ecosystem together with a great many companies and organizations in Brabant. The latter was initiated by the parties in question to boost Brabant’s knowledge infrastructure and to further its international positioning as a Data Science region.
In naming their cooperation, the parties have opted for a reference to painter Jheronimus Bosch. He went down in history as ‘the creator of devils‘ (‘den duvelmakere’) and as a painter of satirical representations, but his significance lies predominantly in his being an innovator of the existing pictorial tradition. He was very resourceful in expressing existing motifs and invented a series of new compositions. Jan Mengelers, President of the Executive Board of Eindhoven University: “This capacity for innovation can also be found in the data science initiative, which can quite rightly be called unique, involving as it does the cooperation of a university of technology in Eindhoven on the one hand, and a university in Tilburg focusing on the Humanities and Social Sciences on the other. The initiative is of tremendous importance to business, to local government and to the region, all eager to hire academically trained data scientists, and it shows that our universities are aware of their societal role,” says Koen Becking, President of the Tilburg University Executive Board.
Data Science is on the rise
The daily production of data worldwide is 2.5 exabytes. This equals four piles of Blu-ray discs stacked up as high as the Eiffel Tower. This amount of data is so enormous that saving, managing, researching, interpreting, and using it is very complex. At this moment in time, 90% of the data produced is still unstructured. Through analysis and interpretation of these data, Data Science can make a substantial contribution to the improvement of, among other things, mobility, waste management, health care, safety, and the fine-tuning of market supply and demand. It can also enable us to make more adequate predictions of economic developments.
According to research by the Dutch National ThinkTank Foundation, the Netherlands is facing an expected shortage of 8,000 data specialists in 2018. Besides this, research by stakeholders in the Brainport region indicates that, in the southeast of Brabant, at least 300 new data scientists will be needed each year. Member of the Provincial Executive Bert Pauli on the cooperation: “It is precisely from the perspective of employment and bringing about a strong ‘data science ecosystem’ in the region of Brabant that the province is an enthusiastic participant in JADS.”
Mayor Ton Rombouts of ’s-Hertogenbosch feels that there is much added value to be gained from JADS for the region: “Until recently, it was not possible in this city to follow a degree program at the university level. The establishment of this institute strengthens the city’s business climate and educational facilities, as well as its profile. JADS is a wonderful new purpose for the Mariënburg convent, that, in the past, has been used for educational purposes for decades. As a city, we are therefore proud to host the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. Such regional cooperation is unique in the Netherlands.”
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