Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics white logo SVG
Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics white logo SVG

Erasmus Data Collaboratory

Where data comes to life

The Data Collaboratory

The Erasmus Data Collaboratory is an inclusive, open experimenting environment for data and AI, situated on the campus of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Within this space, people can collectively think, work, innovate, and learn. Housed at the heart of the campus within the Polak building, this physical hub is being developed to facilitate hands-on action learning, action research, experimentation, and valorisation. It will serve as a space where the entire data science cycle can take place, from data engineering to data analysis, including data visualisation. It will also act as a central venue for meetups, workshops, masterclasses, and projects. The overarching goal is to cultivate a better understanding of data and AI.

To bring data to life in the EDC, ECDA forges partnerships with leading tech companies and startups. These partners offer (cloud) infrastructure and software tailored to data and AI, providing access to specific technologies, data sets, algorithms, and advanced tools for AI, machine learning, process mining, and visualisation. Within this environment, emerging talent like students from the Erasmus Tech Community and Turing Students Rotterdam can strategize and execute their endeavours. Concurrently, established professionals from our corporate partners can convene to learn, exchange insights, and conduct research. This dynamic ecosystem accommodates collaborative projects and can subsequently showcase the results.

One of the main aims is to foster collective creativity, innovation, and societal impact by uniting students, academics, public and private partners, as well as startups and scale-ups. Collectively, we can address issues such as the energy transition, resilient deltas, health systems, and smart, inclusive cities. These issues usually offer complex and hard to resolve challenges that demand creative, systemic, and multifaceted solutions. Each design challenge will be supervised by highly experienced expert facilitators.

The Erasmus Data Collaboratory features project and meeting rooms furnished with creative and invigorating tools that support research and education. It includes a data lab, equipped with high-quality workstations, high-resolution displays, and a cloud infrastructure with fast connectivity. Moreover, you can also find an Immersive Tech space equipped with advanced digital projection facilities.

Creating positive societal impact

One of the primary aims of the Erasmus Data collaboratory is to foster collective creativity to create societal impact, by bringing together students, academics, public and private partners and startups/scale-ups to work on complex societal challenges, while using the power of data and AI. Examples are the energy transition, resilient deltas, our health system, creating smart and inclusive cities. These issues, all related to contributing to the United Nations SDGs are usually complex, messy and hard to resolve, demanding creative, systemic and divergent design challenge approaches.

Every design challenge will involve facilitators, highly experienced coaches who act as lead learners and guardians of the collaboratory space., as well as subject experts, who are responsible for providing relevant knowledge and contributing it to the discussion in a relevant and pertinent matter.

Hub on campus Erasmus University Rotterdam

The physical space opened on October 2021 and includes:

  • a data lab, equipped with high-quality workstations with high-resolution displays, connected to a cloud infrastructure through fast connections.
  • a visualization space, with advanced digital projection facilities
  • a multimedia-equipped boardroom
  • well-equipped project and meeting rooms, that will be equipped with creative and stimulating tools to support research and education

Data Lab – Where Data Comes to Life

The data lab, dedicated to hands-on training and in-depth research, operates as a laboratory environment for various ECDA expert practices and community members. It will also serve as a place for practical training, where professionals from diverse industries (education, business, law, health care, culture & art) and students from varied educational programmes and backgrounds can engage with real datasets and employ cutting-edge data analytics, AI, and machine learning tools. Here, they can also visualise their experiments and findings, inviting others to partake in their data and AI journeys. A key function of the data lab is access to the Erasmus Data Sandbox – a sophisticated data environment that lab users may consider as their experimental playground.

The Sandbox constitutes of the combined Data and AI infrastructure & toolset offered as part of the Data Collaboratory. This platform permits students, researchers, commercial partners, and startups to experiment and develop new innovative solutions, fostering proof of value and driving innovation. The Sandbox also serves as the central repository of knowledge, allowing access to data, algorithms, code, and documentation to facilitate reuse and support new developments. Initial pilot projects have already taken place, and user feedback is being harnessed to refine the Sandbox further.

Responsible Data Management (RDM) is an integral part of our projects, with university data stewards offering guidance and support for researchers throughout the research data lifecycle, aligned with international RDM standards and FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is overseen by the EUR privacy officer, ensuring secured sharing, and storing of research infrastructure, data, software code, research material, and corresponding metadata. These measures also facilitate collaboration within international consortia. ECDA guarantees that collaborations and data sharing with partners adhere to legal stipulations and codes.

“The Erasmus Data Collaboratory is an open environment where we welcome students, researchers, faculty, and industry professionals to collaborate on innovative projects, and learn about the latest advancements in data, analytics, machine learning and AI”.

- Jos van Dongen, Director Erasmus Data Collaboratory

Immersive Tech Space – Engagement Through Experimentation

Immersive technology is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of digital experiences that enable users to interact with digitally created environments, evoking a sense of physical presence. It includes technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) to deliver a fully immersive experience. Immersive Tech enables Erasmus University to offer education in novel, more inclusive, and sustainable ways. Immersive Tech can serve as a powerful tool to conduct experiments and communicate research findings, making it easier to exchange knowledge intuitively with stakeholders around the world.

The Immersive Tech Space fulfils several roles:

  1. Connecting & Inspiring: It serves as a platform to update campus stakeholders and external partners on the latest XR technologies, visualise projects and expertise, and provide an inspirational venue for events.
  2. Supporting education: This space facilitates experimentation with new XR technologies, houses small-scale XR classrooms, acts as a playground for students, and facilitates experiments related to VR and holographic imaging.
  3. Supporting research & Innovation: In the Immersive Tech Space, XR technologies can be used at the outset of research projects and innovation programmes, immersing stakeholders in research results. It helps to clarify complex concepts (such as social networks, (path) dependencies, interactions), simulates scientific experiments, and employs gamification elements to present research in a more engaging manner.

Collaboration with diverse immersive tech startups and scale-ups takes precedence. Our technology partners will actively participate in various projects to support the innovation missions of our community members with their tools and technologies. Additionally, the space will offer opportunities to showcase AI and immersive art installations, embodying a hands-on, inspiring exemplar of our mission to facilitate multidisciplinary immersive collaborations.

Co-creating with the support of:

Learn, discover, compete at the Erasmus Data Collaboratory

Benefit from our library of data sets, algorithms and best in class tools.


Gain an opportunity to access to resources, collaborate together with colleagues and create impact.

Business & Government

Benefit from working together with academic experts and young qualified talent and gain new insight for your organization.


Have a chance to work on real cases in collaboration with companies and government entities.

Aftermovie: Launch of the Erasmus Data Collaboratory (EDC)