AI4GROWTH : catalyst between SMEs and Academics

inteligence artificielle

About the Event

3PM - 4PM (GMT+1)
Thursday 18th March

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly important role in various aspects of our lives. Also for companies, emerging AI and ML applications lead to a competitive advantage for the early adopters embracing these technologies. To accelerate the economic potential of these technologies, to link expertise and knowledge, AI4Growth was founded as a local network within AI & ML. With members from both research-driven AI companies, AI experts from industry and academia, and companies that want to focus more on the application of AI & ML, AI4Growth creates a unique platform.
In this session AI4Growth explores what the AI-(r)evolution means for society and for companies. The potential challenges of the increasing impact of AI technology on society are discussed, but also the opportunities offered by this technological revolution. With AI experts such as Sofie Van Hoecke and Erik Mannens, and input from AI believers and adopters Benjamin Vandemarliere (Boltzmann) and Jonathan Berte (Robovision) this will be an AI-session not to be missed! Digital-first professional Clo Willaerts will moderate and give you insights into the benefits and challenges of AI.


15:05 : Keynote
15:30 : PANEL
15:45 Q&A
15:48 : Last question

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Erik Mannens

Erik Mannens is Research Valorisation Director @ imec & Professor @ Ghent University – IDLab since 2005 where he has successfully managed +75 projects. He received his PhD degree in Computer Science Engineering (2011) at UGent, his Master’s degree in Computer Science (1995) at K.U. Leuven University & his Master’s degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering (1992) at KAHO Ghent. He currently heads a Data Science team of +50 Semantic Technologies & Artificial Intelligence Researchers. Before joining imec-IDLab in 2005 as project manager, he was a software engineering consultant & Java architect for over a decade. Since 2008 Erik is paving the (Linked) Open Data path in Flanders. He stood at the cradle of the first Hackatons & is a founding member of the Open Knowledge Foundation (Belgian Chapter). Since then, he is frequently invited as Linked Open Data evangelist, Smart City expert, and Ethical AI specialist at national and international events. He currently actively participates in several W3C’s standardisation groups. Furthermore his team is owner of the Open Sourced Linked Open Data Publishing frameworks TheDataTank, R&Wbase, RML, Linked Data Fragments, SOLID & Communica.



Benjamin Vandermarliere

Benjamin Vandermarliere is managing partner at Boltzmann. Boltzmann is specialized in machine learning plug-ins for the core processes of your company.

Jonathan Berthe

Jonathan Berte is the founder and CEO of Robovision, a Belgian company that specializes in industrializing deep learning. Berte and his team of machine learning experts have developed a fully scalable platform for the deployment of advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Robovision is applied in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, security and agriculture. With this AI Vision platform, Robovision wants to open up the human-machine revolution to companies looking to lead. Berte studied applied physics at the University of Ghent and specialized in neuroscience at the ETH Zurich. A strong believer in the power of technology to transform global democracy, Berte is an avid supporter of the open source movement and was voted Disruptor of the Year 2018. He seeks to apply his AI expertise to enact change not only on a corporate level, but on a societal level as well.



Sophie Van Hoecke

Sofie Van Hoecke graduated from the Engineering Department from the Ghent University in 2003. Following up on her studies in computer science, she achieved a PhD in computer science engineering at the same university on Efficient service management in healthcare. After being a postdoctoral research engineer and ICT research coordinator at the University College West-Flanders,  she became a professor at the IDLab of Ghent University-imec. Here, she leads a multidisciplinary research group (, active on the study and design of innovative machine learning solutions, semantic dashboards, and the fusion of machine learning and semantic technologies, physical models or expert feedback, applied in both predictive maintenance and predictive healthcare. She also teaches different modules to engineers and postgraduates ranging from Web of Things over Applied Machine Learning to Data Analytics in Health and Connected Care.


Sophie Van Hoecke


Clo Willaerts

Clo Willaerts is a Belgian marketing professional with a large following on social media and an extensive experience in digital business (communities, streaming media, social media, digital transformation) for the travel, financial, automotive, media and telco industries. Her popular technology blog has been a trusted source of information since 2004. Now, after nearly twenty years of working as an internet and media professional, she travels the world as a consultant, speaker and author. Clo describes herself as a technology optimist: she never tires of teaching and learning about digital technology and the impact it has on our daily lives. She is a natural on stage and regularly lectures in Belgium on social media, online privacy, digital marketing, artificial intelligence and future technologies at Karel de Grote Hogeschool, Thomas More, EHSAL Management School, Odisee, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and UBA Academy.



Clo Willaerts

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