[PWC-MEDIA] Press Release - Six new projects enabling scientific discovery to start in 2015

  • From: Sacha van Breugel <s.vanbreugel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "pwc-media@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <pwc-media@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:33:08 +0000

Netherlands eScience Center
Press Release

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Six new projects enabling scientific discovery to start in 2015

The Netherlands eScience Center is pleased to announce the initiation of six 
new projects in the areas of Environment and Sustainability, Life Sciences & 
eHealth, Humanities and Social Sciences and Physical World and Beyond. The 
projects, scheduled to start in 2015, are collaborations with research teams 
from multiple Dutch academic groups and represent the latest step in the 
continued development of NLeSC’s project portfolio.

The six projects result from two recent calls. Two projects will be funded in 
the areas of Humanities and Social Sciences. Project leaders Dr. Loro Aroyo and 
Prof. Piek Vossen will each receive funding to the value of 125K euro. Four 
more projects will receive funding to the value of 500K euro to address 
challenges in climate research, eChemistry and green genetics. NLeSC funds 
projects by the direct provision of cash and the in kind provision of eScience 
Research Engineers.

For more information, please contact Dr. Frank Seinstra 
f.seinstra@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:f.seinstra@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>  or Dr. Scott 
Lusher s.lusher@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:s.lusher@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>


DIVE+: Interacting with Historical Events in Linked Cultural Heritage
Dr. L. Aroyo
VU University Amsterdam

This project provides a basis for interpretation support in searching and 
browsing of heritage objects, where semantic information from existing 
collections plus open linked data vocabularies are linking collection objects 
to the events, people, locations and concepts that are depicted or associated 
with those objects. An innovative interface paradigm allows for browsing this 
network of data in an intuitive fashion supporting both digital humanities 
scholars and general audiences in their online explorations.

Visualizing uncertainty and perspectives
Prof. dr. P. Vossen
VU University Amsterdam

This project aims to develop a tool that visualizes subjectivity, perspective 
and uncertainty to make them controllable variables in Humanities research. The 
tool should allow users to compare information from different sources 
representing alternative perspectives and visualize subjectivity and 
uncertainty. Such a visualization enables improved and comprehensive source 
criticism, provides new directions of research and strengthens the methodology 
of digital humanities.

Environmental Re-Analysis of Urban areas: Quantifying high-resolution energy 
and water budgets of European cities (ERA-URBAN)
Prof. dr. A.A.M. Holtslag
Wageningen University

Ongoing world-wide climate change and urbanization illustrate the need to 
understand urban hydrometeorology and its consequences for human thermal 
comfort and water management.
Limited availability of long-term geographical and hydrometeorological 
observations and limited computational capacity for urban scale simulations 
have so far hampered answering related scientific research questions. This 
project will develop an urban hydrometeorological archive that combines all 
available, rich and heterogeneous observations with multi-scale atmospheric and 
hydrological model results. Our challenge is to make the data in the archive 
meaningful, insightful and useful for scientists, local-scale urban planners, 
policy makers, (local) companies and individual citizens.

3D-e-Chem: Integrated eScience workflow to translate biological and chemical 
data into structure-based protein-ligand polypharmacology prediction
Dr. C. de Graaf
VU University Amsterdam

Many new protein targets have been discovered recently and it has been shown 
that clinical efficacy is often the result of polypharmacological action of 
drug molecules (i.e. the interaction with more than one protein target). 
Efficient exploitation of chemical and biological information is hampered 
however, because a good approach to efficiently integrate large volumes of 
heterogeneous data from different disciplines is still missing. The data needs 
to be properly integrated in order to extract useful information that is 
manageable and applicable in various life science disciplines. This project 
will develop technologies to improve the integration of ligand and protein data 
for structure-based prediction of protein-ligand selectivity and 

Computational chemistry made easy
Prof. dr. L. Visscher
VU University Amsterdam

This project concerns the construction and efficient execution of computational 
chemistry workflows. This allows computational chemists to use the emerging 
massively parallel computing environments in an easy manner and focus on 
interpretation of scientific data rather than on tedious job submission 
procedures and manual data processing. This makes entirely new approaches 
possible in which a single researcher can model and analyze thousands of 
compounds with high-level quantum chemistry methods. This yields a wealth of 
detailed data (molecular structures, transition states, charge distributions, 
electronic excitation energies) to rationally design solar cells, reduce 
solvent losses in organic synthesis, tune catalysts, or develop better LEDs, to 
name just a few applications. The project goal will be realized by bringing 
concepts from distributed computing (efficient parallelization in heterogeneous 
environments) and bioinformatics (data management and workflow construction) to 
the field of computational chemistry.

Prediction of Candidate Genes for Traits Using Interoperable Genome Annotations 
and Literature
Prof. dr. R.G.F. Visser
Wageningen University

Plant breeding companies are facing a paradigm shift. From traditional 
quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies, breeders got an insight which region(s) 
to introgress in their elite germplasm, with the aim to improve traits of 
interest. However, genome annotations are becoming available for more and more 
(crop) species and we observe that a QTL region could easily include 1000 
genes, positively or negatively affecting the desired phenotype. This project 
addresses the scientific challenge to utilize genome annotations and semantic 
interoperability with other databases, such as literature, for 
computer-assisted prioritization to determine which gene(s) is a candidate 
explaining the QTL. The application of the project results will be utilized in 
a better choice of parents for crossing in plant breeding, and as a perspective 
in the longer term, to enable precision breeding (genomics-assisted in silico 
design of an optimal genotype with a set of defined traits (e.g. quality and/or 
resistance), for production in a given environment and the subsequent strategy 
to breed for such a genotype), but are applicable in (animal, human and plant) 
genetics research in general.

About NLeSC

NLeSC is the national expertise center for the development and application of 
domain overarching software and methods for the scientific community. NLeSC 
develops crucial bridges between increasingly complex modern e-infrastructures 
and the growing demands and ambitions of scientists from across all 
disciplines. The application of digitally enhanced scientific practices, 
referred to as eScience, is a fundamental method for all researchers. It is a 
prerequisite to ensure the Dutch knowledge sector remains competitive and the 
greatest return can be achieved from scientific investments. In support of this 
goal NLeSC funds and participates in multidisciplinary projects, with academia 
and industry, with optimized data-handling, efficient computing and big-data 
analytics at their core.

NLeSC is a joint initiative of the Dutch national research council (NWO) and 
the Dutch organization for ICT in higher education and research (SURF).

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