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Province invests in CBS project at campus in Heerlen

Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen will be given another major boost. It will be joining forces with the Center for Big Data Statistics (CBDS), part of Statistics Netherlands, which celebrated its first anniversary on 27 September. The Provincial Executive has awarded project funding worth € 2,000,000 to the CBDS, pending the approval of Limburg’s Parliament.

The project and the partnership with Brightlands were announced on 27 September by Limburg’s Regional Minister for Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure, Twan Beurskens, and Statistics Netherlands Director-General, Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi, during the seminar “Big Data Matters – Towards Smart Statistics”, organised by Statistics Netherlands on the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen. The project’s total costs will come to somewhat more than € 22,000,000. The investment will solidify the foundations of the Heerlen campus, which recently also celebrated its first birthday.

The aim of the Center for Big Data Statistics is to update the supply of statistics, develop new statistical products, and add new dimensions to existing statistics, for example analysis by region or sector. This will allow policymakers to respond quicker and more appropriately to trends.

The partnership between the CBDS and Brightlands Smart Services Campus will connect the campus to unique data sources and specific knowledge and expertise. For example, the campus focuses mainly on business development and on maintaining its community. The knowledge organisations situated there focus on education and research, while the CBDS concentrates mainly on using Big Data for statistical purposes. The CBDS can also play an important role in delivering the input for data-driven policy on such issues as economic growth, the energy transition, mobility, the labour market, health, the housing market, and public safety.

Regional Minister Twan Beurskens said, “Statistics Netherlands’ enormous data expertise will be available to our start-ups, students, researchers and SMEs on the campus. That will give Limburg’s knowledge economy a tremendous boost towards further growth.”

Astrid Boeijen, Director of Statistics Netherlands’ Heerlen branch, is also looking forward to closer cooperation. “The funding will allow us to carry out deeper analyses of societal trends, create work placements for talented students, and seal our partnership with Brightlands Smart Services Campus. It makes Limburg in general and Heerlen in particular more appealing to other data-oriented parties.”

The Provincial Executive has also agreed to a project proposal to prepare a Provincial Data Center (PDC) with Statistics Netherlands in 2018. The new PDC will come under the provincial research programme for 2018 and beyond.