Towards socially robust knowledge: creating and sharing data with citizens and neighbourhoods

Professor Lea den Broeder & Professor John Bolte

However beautiful our data may be, they do not always end up with the residents they are about. This also means that policy based on our knowledge is far from the citizen. It is precisely with complex 'wicked' problems that these can only be tackled together with all parties, including citizens. In this masterclass the basic principles of data collection and analysis with citizens or 'Citizen Science' will be discussed. We discuss examples, practical approaches, pitfalls and opportunities of 'Citizen Science' and develop project ideas: beautiful first steps towards socially robust knowledge.


Big Data: what exactly is the Big Deal?

Albert Wong, PhD

The hype surrounding Big Data is strong. Many success stories have surfaced over the past years -- they range from the use of detailed patient data to identify the optimal treatment for cancer patients, to the detection of fraud in financial transactions. But is this hype justified, and why? In this Masterclass we identify some key aspects of  the Big Data movement such as the data-driven way of thinking and the use of machine/deep learning methods, discuss their strengths and limitations, and describe how they differ from the traditional scientific approach and the use of statistical methods. This subject matter is not only discussed from a technical perspective, but also approached from a philosophical stance. We also illustrate some epidemiological applications of Big Data at the RIVM, and show how Big Data has contributed to the core tasks of the RIVM. The aim of this Masterclass is to cultivate a more critical understanding of Big Data and its potential value amongst its participants.


Concerned citizens in rural Netherlands: plausibility, causality, public health and the precautionary principle

Professor Dick Heederik

When residents are exposed to environmental pollutants, they often call for epidemiologic studies that should address their concerns. Epidemiologists however face several challenges to design a study that is both scientifically sound and informative for the public. In this masterclass, Prof. Heederik will discuss the tension between plausibility, causality, public health and the precautionary principle, and ways to deal with this in epidemiological research. This will be illustrated with examples from a study into health effects in residents living near intensive livestock farms.


Exposome and microbiome: opportunities and challenges

Professor Roel Vermeulen & Wouter de Steenhuijsen Piters, MD