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

Max Gindt
Attaché Ministry of State
Nathanaël Ackerman
Belgian Federal Public Service BoSa / AI4Belgium

Stephanie Rossello
Legal Researcher at Centre for IT and IP law at KU Leuven
David Jaroszewski
Federal Police / AI4Belgium AI4GOV board member 

Hans De Canck
Manager AI Experience Centre / AI for the Common Good VUB / AI4Belgium

Patrick Weber
Attaché, Ministry of Digitalisation Luxembourg

Colin van Noordt (Moderator)
PhD researcher, TalTech

Pieter Duysburgh (Moderator)
Kenniscentrum Data & Maatschappij
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

Saskia van Uffelen
Belgian Digital Champion to the EU, member of the EU Board Digital Skills & Jobs / AI4Belgium advisory board member

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.png Mathieu Michel Since October 2020, Mathieu Michel has been Secretary of State for Digitalization, in charge of Administrative Simplification, Privacy and Management of Buildings. Previously, Mathieu Michel was President of the Provincial College of Walloon Brabant from 2012 to 2020, with responsibilities including patrimony and digitalization. He developed several projects in the context of smart cities and the digitalization of provincial education. As State Secretary responsible for digitalization, artificial Intelligence is one of Mathieu Michel's priorities. His aim is to mark Belgium’s position as a leading nation in the field of AI, and more specifically in the area of health and energy. He feels strongly about demystifying the use of new technologies and pleads to integrate transparency as an essential component of technological innovation and the algorithms on which they thrive.   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.png Els Renders is a Director at Deloitte with more than 20 years of experience in the domain of data and analytics. She helps her clients in all levels of government to create impact through an intelligent use of data and analytics. Insight driven organisations have a myriad of challenges to tackle. She helps leadership teams to align on priorities and supports in getting practical challenges done. She is an expert in evidence-based-policymaking, data-driven solutions and establishing the right organisation for data governance.
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.png Benjamin Bollendorff is working as Digital advisor at the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the European Union in Brussels. His portfolio includes subjects such as Data policies, Data protection, Cyber issues as well as the Digital economy. Benjamin joined the Permanent Representation to the EU in 2017, after having worked for several years for the Luxembourg MFA and EEAS in Strasbourg.
  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.png Marina Andrieu is the coordinator of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition for Luxembourg since 2018. From 2013-2016 she was also EU CODE Week ambassador for Luxembourg and is currently involved in many pan-European initiatives. Marina is the organiser of the first coding classes for Women in Luxembourg. She holds a Master in Economics, Human resources & change management from University of Grenoble, France. Marina has a strong background in recruitment, before becoming a project leader and trainer in the field of digital education & entrepreneurship. She is also the director and co-founder of WIDE (Women in Digital Empowerment), an organisation promoting girls and women in the world of I.T. and tech in Luxembourg and beyond.
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 Innovation and Excellence" at the European Commission. This unit funds and assists beneficial robotics and AI developments within Europe. Under Horizon 2020, the unit launched one of the world's largest civilian programme in robotics with a budget of €700 million, supplemented by €2.1 billion from the European robotics industry in the context of the Robotics Public-Private Partnership. This unit is also at the heart of the Communication on Artificial Intelligence for Europe, the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence , the Communication on Building Trust in Human-Centric Artificial Intelligence, and the ‘ecosystem of excellence’ of the White Paper on AI. Cécile joined the unit since its creation in 2004. Previously, she worked for the industry in signal processing after a post-doc at the University of California Santa Barbara and a PhD at University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. In 2015, she has been selected as one of the "25 women in robotics you need to know about".
Saskia van Uffelen.png Saskia Van Uffelen has been working in the sector of information and communication technology (ICT) for over 25 years. She has held national and international sales and marketing functions in leading companies such as Xerox, Compaq, HP, Arinso, Bull and Ericsson. As Corporate Vice President for the French ICT group Inetum, she oversees the development of the BeNeLux region for the group. Since 2012, the federal government appointed Saskia Van Uffelen as ‘Digital Champion’ for Belgium representing the European Commission.  Saskia leads the National Coalition for Digital Skills & Jobs for Belgium and as a boardmember of the EU Governing board for Digital Skills and Jobs, she provides strategic leadership and gives high-level advice to improve the functioning and the impact of the Coalitions as well as monitoring its overall progress. Stephanie Rossello.png Stephanie Rossello obtained a B.A. in Social Sciences at the University College Roosevelt (Middelburg, The Netherlands) (2007), followed by a Master of Law at the KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) (2011) and a LL.M. at the University of Chicago (Chicago, USA) (2012). For several years, Stephanie practiced as a lawyer at national and international law firms, where she specialized in several areas of law, and assisted an international financial institution with complying with the GDPR. Stephanie has been a research assistant at the Center for IT and IP Law of the KU Leuven since 2019. There, she is currently working on the H2020 MUSKETEER project (grant agreement: 824988), in the context of which she is providing legal and ethical guidance on the development and use of machine learning algorithms to augment shared knowledge in federated privacy preserving scenarios. Her research interests include algorithmic accountability and privacy preserving technologies.
  Max Gindt Attaché Ministry of State 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
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.    





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