Webinar AI opportunities for the Benelux frontrunners



ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. There is no question that AI will have an impact on all sectors, our private life as well as on society as a whole. A new study undertaken by McKinsey that looks at the AI potential for Europe’s digital 9 frontrunners – countries chosen based on their advanced digital infrastructure and strong corporate buy-in – finds that the countries can be successful in the domain of AI as long as scale is applied and collaboration is ensured. It recommends that the countries focus on key areas, such as promoting data access and ensuring that the necessary talent is in place in order to unlock AI’s potential. The Benelux, with its longstanding history of cooperation in a wide variety of policy domains, can provide this scale and has the potential to offer a FastTrack for the rollout of AI in those key areas.

On Wednesday 10 February 2021, from 10-13h, the national AI coalitions of the Benelux-countries – public-private collaborations that have been set-up to solve remaining issues in a wide variety of areas where AI has a large impact – will come together to deep dive into specific AI challenges in order to exchange best practices, compare different approaches and look at possibilities for future cross-border cooperation at Benelux level.

Belgian State Secretary for Digitalisation, Mr Mathieu Michel, will kick-off the event, after which McKinsey will present its latest study on Europe’s digital 9 frontrunners with a focus on the challenges and opportunities for the Benelux region.


Following the plenary part, participants can join specific breakout sessions on AI4GOV, AI Ethics / Human Centric AI, Data Governance and The Future of Work. A plenary wrap-up with conclusions and a key note speech by Cécile Huet, deputy Head of Unit Robotics & AI at the European Commission, are foreseen at the end.

The event will be facilitated by day moderator Julie Scherpenseel, ML6 & Young ICT Lady of the Year / AI4Belgium advisory board member.




Alain de Muyser
Secretary General at Benelux Secretariat-General


Mathieu Michel
Belgian state secretary for digitalization


Jan Molema
Director Internal Market at Benelux Secretariat-General


Jens Riis Andersen

Followed by a Q&A with the national AI coalitions, moderated by:
Julie Scherpenseel
ML6 & Young ICT Lady of the Year / AI4Belgium advisory board member

11.00 – 11.05   5 min break



During the first part of this session governments representatives will exchange best practices regarding the application of AI within the government. The second part of the session will zoom in on specific examples in the police domain.

  AI Ethics / Human Centric AI

Different approaches to human centric AI in the Benelux countries will be compared to each other and possible ways for future cooperation will be explored

Marieke van Putten
NL Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Emile Aarts
Professor Computer Science, Tilburg University / Chair WG social acceptance & inclusion, NL AIC
Erwin van Eijk
Netherlands Forensic Institute

Nathanaël Ackerman
Belgian Federal Public Service BoSa / AI4Belgium

David Jaroszewski
Federal Police / AI4Belgium AI4GOV board member 

Colin van Noordt (Moderator)
PhD researcher, TalTech

Moderator: TBC

11.50 – 12.00   Coffee break


Data governance

In this session different data governance models in the Benelux countries will be compared with a goal to look at possibilities of coming to a future common framework, for example in crucial sectors such as health and mobility, so as to act as a pioneer within Europe.

  The future of work

AI and digitisation are changing our labour market: new jobs will be created, many will change, and some might even disappear. Developing the (digital) skills necessary to work in AI and upskilling the workforce to become fit for the AI-led transformation are crucial elements. How can the Benelux, characterised by a lot of cross-border labour mobility, take the lead in this discussion?

Frans van Ette
Programme Director AI, TNO / Chair WG datasharing, NL AIC

Katja van Kranenburg
Lead Human Capital Agenda at NL AI coalition

Els Renders
Director Analytics & Information Management, Deloitte / AI4Belgium Data Governance co-lead

Fons Leroy
Labour market specialist with extensive responsibilities at EU-level / former managing director of VDAB / AI4Belgium “Future of Work” Lead

Frédéric Pivetta
Managing Partner Dalberg Data Insights / AI4Belgium Data Governance lead

Marina Andrieu
Lead Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition, Luxembourg

François Thill
Cyber Security Director, Luxembourg Ministry for Economy

Benjamin Bollendorff (Moderator)
Telecom Attaché Luxembourg Permanent Representation to the EU

Jeroen Franssen (Moderator)
Agoria / AI4Belgium “Future of Work” board member

12.45 – 12.55   WRAP-UP & CONCLUSIONS


Cécile Huet
Deputy Head of Unit Robotics & AI / DG-CNECT, European Commission


Event contact: Lotte Dijkink, L.Dijkink@Benelux.int 



  Mathieu Michel State Secretary for digitalisation.   Frans van Ette.png Frans van Ette is Programme Director AI at TNO and Chair of the working group datasharing of the Dutch AI coalition.
  Frédéric Pivetta  is the Founder and Managing Partner at Dalberg Data Insights (DDI). He is also the co-lead of AI4GOOD and Data Governance in AI4Belgium. Frederic has been active over the last 8 years in the context of data, technology and social impact where he has collaborated with major funders and local stakeholders. DDI focuses on designing and setting up data ecosystems through developing tech tools, creating data governance and building communities. DDI has amongst others supported the Belgian Government during the COVID crisis by setting up the Data-against-Corona Task Force. Before that, Frédéric was a co-founder of Real Impact Analytics (now Riaktr), which develops Big Data tools for telecom operators. He founded the Data-for-Good entity from RIA. Frederic holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University and has graduated in Business Economics and in Econometrics from Brussels University (ULB and Solvay Business School).

  Els Renders is Director Analytics & Information Management at Deloitte and AI4Belgium Data Governance co-lead.
Jens Riis Andersen.png Jens Riis Andersen is a Partner at McKinsey, based in the Copenhagen Office and has been with McKinsey since 2013. Jens has a background as Ph.D. in Economics. Jens has recently been working extensively on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and Future of Work, e.g., leading the recent McKinsey research on AI in Europe incl. Benelux François Thill.png François Thill joined the Ministry of the Economy in Luxembourg in 2001. He played a leading role in the creation of CASES (Cyberworld Awareness and Security Enhancement Services) in 2003; the first Luxembourg CERT in 2007 or Security Made in Lëtzeburg (smile g.i.e.) in 2010, hosting the Luxembourg Cybersecurity Competence Centre C3. Furthermore, François Thill represents Luxembourg on the management board of ENISA since its creation in 2004; is chair of the board of SecurityMaderin.lu, member at the Cyber Security Board of Luxembourg and an alternate member of the Data Protection Authority.
Julie Scherpenseel.png Julie Scherpenseel is a Strategy Officer at ML6, where she focuses on growing the company fast and sustainably. Among other things, she oversees the international expansion, implementation of the strategy and leads the Trustworthy AI Workgroup. She was the youngest member of the AI Expert Group in Belgium, advising the Government on the development and execution of a Belgian AI Strategy and was elected as Young ICT Lady of the Year 2020 by Datanews. Julie is also AI4Belgium advisory board member.   Benjamin Bollendorff is Telecom Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union.
  Erwin van Eijk is the divisional head of the Digital and Biometric Traces Department of the Netherlands Forensic Institute, which comes under the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. He is active in projects around image recognition (of child pornographic material) and the search of chat messages. But also recognizing / identifying people on the basis of clothing is done on the basis of deep learning. All this takes place in a broader context of “digital forensics as a service”. Katja van Kranenburg.png Katja van Kranenburg heads the Employment Group and the Technology, Media & Communications Sector Group of CMS in the Netherlands. As an employment lawyer, she advises (international) companies about high profile employment law matters. She is very much interested in the new technologies and skills and the impact & opportunities of technology on work.​ Her enthusiasm for technology and skills comes together in her role as Lead of the Human Capital Agenda of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition and of the Netherlands AI Coalition. 
Nathanaël Ackerman.png Nathanaël Ackerman is the current lead of the AI4Belgium coalition. He is “AI & Innovation expert” at the Federal Public Service Policy and Support (BoSa). Nathanaël has had a mixed public-private career: from research & teaching AI @ Université Libre de Bruxelles, to entrepreneurship. He was involved in the technology transfer @ULB for several years. In 2012, he was appointed as Director for Innovation and International Relations @Brussels Enterprise Agency (now hub.brussels). More recently, Nathanael has been appointed as Advisor for Innovation and AI (to Secretary of State Axelle Lemaire) for the French Government. He leaded the #France IA  strategic plan. And then co-founded and managed the Hub France Artificielle for 2 years, before coming back to Belgium, his native country, to do quite the same job : contribute to the national AI strategy, and implement it with the ecosystem. Nathanael is both graduated from Polytechnic School of Brussels, and Ecole Centrale Paris. Fons Leroy.png Fons Leroy was the managing director of the VDAB between 2005 and 2019. He holds a master's degree in law and criminology with a special qualification in management and public administration. Since his retirement he lectures on HRM and labour market policy, supervises public mediation services on a strategic level, is an assessor for the European Network of Public Employment Services and chairman of the Beroepenhuis, the Round Table on Employment Care and the Red Nose Fund. He is AI4Belgium Future of Work lead.
David Jaroszewski.png David Jaroszewski is Chief Superintendent of the Belgian Federal Police. David has a Master's degree in Applied Economic Sciences.  He worked for 10 years as IT manager for the Belgian police and then 8 years as an operational officer in the special units of the Belgian Federal Police with also the responsibility for the operational R&D.  Following a training course he obtained the certificate allowing him to occupy the “Top police” positions. David currently works as a Strategic Advisor in judicial R&D and ICT strategy to the General Director of the Federal Judicial Police and is also a member of the executive committee of the Federal Police Innovation Program (15,000 people) and involved in all major digital transformation projects (like i-Police). He is member of the global panel MIT and in the Governance of AI4GOV for AI4Belgium.   Marina Andrieu is the Lead Digital Skills &Jobs Coalition Luxembourg
Colin van Noordt.png Colin van Noordt is a PhD Researcher at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), in Estonia. He is working as an External Expert for the European Commission's AI Watch team, where he is contributing to the research activities on the use of AI within public services.  Jeroen Fransen.png Jeroen Franssen is AI4Belgium “Future of Work” board member and a senior labor market expert for the largest Belgian sector federation Agoria, representing over 2000 companies with technological or digital main activities. Before joining Agoria’s studies center, he was in charge of several software building companies, mainly focussing on HR-software. Recently Jeroen got well know and appreciated because of his analysis on the impact of digitization on the Belgian labor market, better known as Be The Change. With a solid dataset on one hand and a range of inspiring strategical ideas on the other hand, Jeroen challenged the Belgian authorities, other sectors, companies and their workers to look the changes in the eyes and to adopt a pro-active attitude to get the best out of these challenges both from a macro-economic as from a personal perspective.
Emile Aarts.png Emile Aarts is Dutch AI Coalition chair of the Social Acceptance and Inclusion Working Group; until recently he was rector at Tilburg University and professor of theoretical physics. He is currently closely involved in the development of the Dutch ELSA labs (ethics-legal-society cooperation). In it, companies, government, knowledge institutions and citizens can work together with AI, which is an integral part of the learning approach that the Netherlands is pursuing. Cécile Huet.png Cécile Huet is Deputy Head of the Unit “Robotics and Artificial Intelligence” at the European Commission. 
Alain de Muyser.png Alain de Muyser is Secretary General of the Benelux Union. After studies of international and comparative law in Aix-en-Provence (FR) and Tübingen (GER) in 1986, Alain de Muyser worked for the Luxembourg Development Aid (Lux Development Sàrl.) in Luxembourg, Tunisia, Cap-Vert and Mauritania before joining the Luxembourg Foreign Service in 1989. After various positions in Brussels at the Permanent Representation to the EU and in the Ministry as well non-resident postings at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg) and Poland, he was appointed in 2004 Ambassador of Luxembourg to Portugal and in 2006 non-resident Ambassador to Cap-Vert. In 2012, he joined the General Secretariat of the Benelux as the Luxembourg member of the “Collège des Secrétaires généraux”. Besides, he is professor in political science at Miami University Luxembourg and actively involved in several charitable and cultural institutions. Jan Molema.png Jan Molema is  a trained lawyer and linguist holding degrees from the Universities in Marseille(FR), Freiburg(DE)  and Groningen(NL). He started his career at the European Parliament and then moved on to the IKEA Group, where he held several positions as Manager public and regulatory affairs, Global Payment Card Manager,  Director Real Estate Expansion, Russia. End 2012 he joined the Benelux Union General Secretariat, where he currently holds the position of  Director Internal Market & Economy 





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Co-organised by

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