AI in Flanders in Action
About the event
The policy domain of Economy, Science and Innovation presents the Flemish policy plan on Artificial Intelligence. This plan represents a government investment of 32 million euro per year.
The goal is to prepare Flanders for coming evolutions in AI to reap the economic and societal benefits of this technology while respecting ethical concerns and principles. We start by giving a birds’ eye view on the Flemish AI plan.
Subsequently, a forthcoming (local) project call for cooperation between industry and academia is addressed, after which it is outlined how the current offer in AI training courses will be expanded. How one should take into account concerns of an ethical nature when using AI is explained in another contribution.
An overview follows of the services supply for companies to help them discover, explore and apply AI. After that, a selection of research themes with examples of applications is presented. Finally, the public can ask questions.
Peter Spyns has obtained a MA in Romance Philology, a MSc and PhD in Informatics on the topic of medical language processing for Dutch. He has worked as a (senior) researcher in academia and industry on speech and language technology, the semantic web, ontologies and knowledge engineering.
At the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Public Administration, Peter served earlier i.a. as the coordinator of a five year Flemish Dutch research programme on speech and language technology for Dutch.
Currently, he is the coordinator for international R&I policy of the department. In this capacity, he is involved i.a. the policy preparations on the upcoming Horizon Europe programme, and represents Belgium in various European, Belgian and Flemish high level policy boards and working groups. In addition, because of his background, Peter oversees the Flemish AI research programme and acts as the counterpart within the department for the research programme director.
Ares works as a scientific advisor at the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). His main topics are digitalisation in general, and Artificial Intelligence, industry 4.0 and cybersecurity in particular. He has an excellent overview on the relevant actors in the field, and the Flemish ecosystem.
Before coming to VLAIO Ares obtained his PhD in computer science at the KULeuven and worked there as a post-doctoral research, mainly on computer graphics, image manipulation abd 3D imaging.
Rob Heyman is coordinator of the Knowledge Centre Data and Society which is part of the Flemish strategic plan on AI.
He is a senior researcher at imec-SMIT where he researches participative methods in innovation projects between different stakeholders (legal, civil society, end-users) so that societal, legal and ethical values are integrated during development
Iris Musschoot is coordinator of the brand new Flemish AI Academy. The academy will expand the current offer of AI-trainings for both PhD students/researchers and professionals who want to enhance their knowledge on AI or wish to apply AI in their job.
In this way the academy’s wish is to contribute to the competitiveness of companies and governments as they will have more than today adequately trained AI talent in-house.
Ferdinand Casier holds an Executive Master in Management from the Solvay Business School and has more than 18 years of experience in the digital industries. In March 2013 he joined Agoria, the Belgian Federation for the technology industry, as Business Group Leader for the Digital Industries.
He has spurred innovation in the data field, has developed several projects in the areas of IoT, cybersecurity and information management and is now actively involved in the implementation of regional and national strategies to encourage the adoption of AI by companies and organisations.
Isabel Michiels works as a digital innovation expert at Agoria. She is part of the Agoria DigiCoach team, where she helps companies to work out an initial roadmap for their digital transformation needs. Isabel is committed to showing companies the possibilities of digital technology and how to create value through digital innovation.
Isabel also takes on the role of theme manager digitalisation for the Industry Partnership, a group of 17 Flemish innovation partners, led by Sirris and Agoria, which offers integrated services with the support of VLAIO to stimulate the growth and innovation of the Flemish industry.
Isabel was active for years as a digital technologies advisor for R&D and innovation projects of both large and small companies, startups & scaleups and academic partners in the Belgian (&EU) innovation ecosystem.
Sabine Demey is the director of the ambitious Flemish AI Research Programme. She coordinates the research activities of the ten research partners (Flemish universities and (strategic) research centres).
In her opinion, technological evolutions such as AI should result in positive impacts on the society and the economy. AIready during her studies she became very acquainted with AI in its various shapes as she obtained her PhD in robotics.
Sabine accumulated an extensive industrial experience in various research and business activities, including 3D printing applications in the health sector and software for industry 4.0. For many of these activities, AI was an important technology.