Through the Accelerate Programme, the UvA Data Science Centre (DSC) has awarded funding for six proposals at the Faculty of Science. Within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), this is to design and implement data analysis pipelines and to enhance data-driven research in the Netherlands Infrastructure for Ecosystem and Biodiversity Analysis project (NIEBA ARISE).
Integrating expertise in data management and stewardship, data integration, informatics and high performance computing is increasingly important in the natural sciences. Having expertise in these areas might even become a prerequisite to be recognized as a world leading research institute. With the DSC award funding IBED will appoint two data engineers who will closely collaborate with scientific staff in IBED on diverse research projects that involve advanced data science, artificial intelligence and require complex data processing and analysis pipelines.
Examples of envisioned projects are the development of machine learning pipeline for automatic extraction of animal behavior from video imagery, for interactive exploration of 3D coral reef monitoring data, or for multi- and hyper-spectral data analysis.
Within the framework of NIEBA ARISE a Data Engineer will focus on the integration of data derived from different types of sensors at the Biodiversity Monitoring Sites of NIEBA ARISE, such as cameras and eco-acoustic devices that allow the identification of species through machine-learning tools based on image and sound recognition. Additionally, radar data will be used to monitor aerial biomass flows, e.g. to detect movements of insects, bats and birds. Monitoring biodiversity change further requires annotating the observation records with environmental information (e.g. weather/climate, site condition).
The exchange of knowledge and expertise of IBED Data Engineers with the other DSC members will be highly beneficial for finding new and creative solutions to improve research in UvA-IBED as well as in other institutes throughout the university.
The DSC aims to enhance the university’s research by developing, sharing and applying data science methods and technologies. Through its Accelerate Programme, the DSC will support faculties as they pursue data driven research and stimulate the hiring of data scientists and engineers. The programme is not only intended to facilitate knowledge exchange throughout the university, but also incentivise the integration of these roles into existing research activity.