Science for Research & Innovation - New trends in eHumanities

1. Jacob de Vlieg, eScience Center (NLeSC) and Radboud University Nijmegen and 2. Frank van der Most, e-Humanities Group and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)


February 23, 2012

1. Jacob de Vlieg
CEO & Scientific Director Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC)Head Computational Drug Discovery Group, CMBI, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

Science for Research & Innovation
Science, and the way we undertake research, is changing. The scale of information generation is now so great that science has to adapt or drown in a data deluge. This holds for all science areas, both fundamental and applied and covering alpha, beta and gamma disciplines. eScience, or enhanced Science, is an inherently multi-disciplinary pursuit concerned with the need to bridge the gap between high-powered computing and networking on one side and data-intensive science on the other hand. The challenge of eScience is to ensure that the most value can be gained from all new scientific endeavors and “Big Data” by using innovative ICT to improve experimental design, data analysis and communication. In particular the concept of converging technologies inspired by new scientific collaborations will have a significant impact on promoting new ways to undertake science and facilitate new discoveries and insight. Including examples of how eScience is applied in diverse scientific domain areas, I will discuss the strategy and goals of the newly established Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC). NLeSC is a joint initiative of SURF and NWO and is charged with enabling data-intensive research and promoting knowledge-based interdisciplinary collaboration across all branches of science (alpha, beta, gamma). NLeSC computational sciences, informatics and ICT areas include the development of new techniques and concepts to manipulate and explore massive datasets including cross-type data integration, decision support systems, visualization technologies and data-driven simulations and any other areas that offer the potential to increase coherency across eScience innovation and the rationalization of e-infrastructure development.

Prof. Dr. Jacob de Vlieg studied biophysics at the State University of Groningen and graduated cum laude. During his Ph.D. research, he developed computational methods for 3D biostructure determination. Shortly thereafter, he joined the EMBL, Heidelberg to develop structural bioinformatics techniques. From 1990 until 2001, de Vlieg held a range of research and management positions at Unilever Research, in the fields of modeling, biophysics and ICT. Appointed in 2000, he is currently part-time professor, Computational Chemistry, at the CMBI, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. De Vlieg joined Organon in 2001, as head of the Department of Molecular Design and Informatics responsible for structure-based drug design, computational medicinal chemistry, bioinformatics and research information systems. In 2006, he was appointed as VP R&D IT (CIO R&D) to integrate IT –in all its manifestations- into the drug discovery process. In 2008, he was appointed as Global Head Molecular Design & Informatics, Schering-Plough (now MSD) to support the Discovery Research and Translational Medicine functions worldwide. In July 2011 he began serving as CEO and scientific director of the Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC), a joint initiative of NWO and SURF. The ultimate goal of the NLeSC is to support and reinforce multidisciplinary and data-intensive research through creative and innovative use of ICT in all its manifestations. Prof. de Vlieg serves on a number of advisory boards and committees, including board member of the Netherlands National Computing Facilities Foundation and the program board for Computational Sciences of the Lorentz Center. He was also chair of the NWO Bioinformatics program committee (2001-08) and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Netherlands Bioinformatics Center (2003-06).

(Presentation slides)

2.  Frank van der Most, e-Humanities Group and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

The ‘impact’ of evaluations on academic careers: A conceptual frame, a research approach and pilot-interview data
‘Academic Careers Understood through MEasurements and Norms’ is the full title of the FP7 funded project in which I am participating. It aims to deliver improved guidelines for the evaluation of the work of individual researchers and a portfolio for researchers to present themselves in different contexts of evaluation. In this presentation, I will briefly introduce the ACUMEN project and introduce its sub-project that investigates the impact of evaluations on academic careers. A career in academia is not as straightforward as it perhaps was 50 years ago, and since the 1980s, researchers have had to cope with increasing numbers of evaluations and increasing diversity of evaluation types. Moreover, the notion of ‘impact’ in this context is problematic and deserves careful consideration. Finally, I will present some preliminary insights in data from pilot interviews. More information about ACUMEN can be found at

Frank van der Most started work on the ACUMEN project in the summer of 2011 at the e-Humanities Group. His research interests are research practices, the funding and organization of research, research policies and the interactions between these three. He studied Computer Science at the University of Twente, and Sciences and Arts at Maastricht University. From 1997 until 2005 he was involved in research projects in the history of technology, the policy and scientific developments surrounding mad cow disease, and an evaluation of the Norwegian Research Council. During these projects he developed an interest in digital tools for qualitative and historical research, for which he developed a database application. In 2009 he defended his doctoral thesis titled ‘Research councils facing new science and technology: The case of nanotechnology in Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland’ at the University of Twente. From 2009 until 2011, he did a post-doctoral project on the use and effects of research evaluations at the CIRCLE institute for innovation studies at Lund University. Frank still has a keen interest in digital tools for research and keeps a blog on research policy and practices at