Winners Big Data competition Enlighten Your Research known

Boost for faster medical diagnostics, research into migrating animals, and the analysis of news releases

7 November 2013

Today three research projects each received 20,000 euros and two years of access to big data facilities from NWO, SURF and the Netherlands eScience Center. The winners of the competition Enlighten Your Research are biomedical engineer Mitra Almasian, biologist Stephen Helms and linguist Piek Vossen. The winners receive their prize during the National eScience Symposium 2013 in Amsterdam. The winning proposals show how research in the Netherlands can be strengthened by making use of large-scale ICT facilities

With her project 'A lightpath for Optical Coherence Tomography imaging', PhD student Mitra Almasian from the AMC Amsterdam wants to make non-invasive scientific analysis available for researchers and medics as a part of medical diagnostics. With the project 'Using big data solutions to understand worm behavior' postdoc Stephen Helms from FOM Institute AMOLF will investigate the behaviour of worms to gain a better understanding of how animals navigate. Professor Piek Vossen from VU University Amsterdam and winner of the NWO Spinoza Prize in 2013 will use big data for the analysis of large quantities of news releases in his project 'Recording history in large news streams'.

Big Data Challenge

In this fourth edition of Enlighten Your Research the focus was on the use of large quantities of complex data (big data) in research. Researchers from all scientific disciplines were invited to take part. The jury was made up of representatives from the participating organisations. Chair of the jury, Erwin Bleumink, director of SURFnet: 'Data-driven research is becoming increasingly important in a growing number of research fields. This places high demands on the quality of the ICT infrastructure and its integration. The winning projects are fine examples that will also inspire other scientists to use big data in their research.'



Over a period of two years the winners can make use of the necessary infrastructure of SURFsara in the form of data storage, calculation time and visualisation, and the advanced network connections of SURFnet and they will receive advice from the Netherlands eScience Center on the translation of data driven-research questions into effective software and other solutions. In addition, they receive a monetary prize of 20,000 euros.

The competition has been made possible by the collaborating parties SURF, SURFnet, SURFsara, the Netherlands eScience Center and NWO. Through this collaboration researchers can benefit from a simple and seamless link between different types of e-infrastructural ICT services.

View the winning proposals and the assessment of the jury.

About NWO

With a budget of 625 million euros per year, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is one of the biggest funding bodies for scientific research in the Netherlands. NWO promotes quality and innovation in science by selecting and funding the best research. It manages research institutes of national and international importance, contributes to strategic programming of scientific research in the Netherlands and brings science and society closer together. Research proposals are reviewed and selected by researchers of international repute. More than 5000 scientists can carry out research thanks to funding from NWO.

About SURF

SURF is a powerful higher education and research partnership in which the Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes jointly invest in ICT innovation. SURF brings together ICT professionals in networks and collaborative projects where they can share knowledge about ICT innovation. By making innovations available against attractive conditions and by facilitating the the connection between technology and people, SURF enables optimal use to be made of the possibilities ICT offers. SURF is composed of several operating companies each of which has its own focus area: SURFnet, SURFmarket, SURFsara and SURFshare. Further information about SURF.

About the Netherlands eScience Center

The Netherlands eScience Center (NLeSC) is a collaboration between SURF and NWO. The NLeSC supports researchers in multidisciplinary and data-intensive scientific research in which effective and innovative use is made of ICT. To achieve this, the NLeSC works as a network organisation to make large-scale data analysis across the boundaries of scientific disciplines possible.


Source: NWO


Science area

NWO-wide Social Sciences and Humanities Humanities Applied and Engineering Sciences Earth and Life Sciences Netherlands e-Science Center (NLeSC) Exact and Natural Sciences


Making high-quality facilities accessible (2011-2014)

Further information

NWO, Information and Communication Department, tel.: +31 70 344 07 41