DSM and TU Delft establish artificial intelligence laboratory to drive bioscience innovation

Two of Planet B.io’s founding partners, DSM and TU Delft, today announce the establishment of the Artificial Intelligence Lab for Biosciences (the AI4B.io Lab). This laboratory will be the first of its kind in Europe to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to full-scale biomanufacturing, from microbial strain development to process optimization and scheduling.

The AI4B.io Lab will be part of the Dutch National Innovation Center for AI (ICAI), which works to keep the Netherlands at the forefront of knowledge and talent development in AI. It will be led by Professor Marcel Reinders, Director TU Delft Bioengineering Institute. DSM regards biosciences as an important tool for addressing climate change and resource scarcity and optimizing the global food system so will invest EUR 2.5 million into the laboratory over the first five years.

With more than 150 years of experience, DSM has already developed an extensive portfolio of sustainable, bio-based solutions that help address some of the key challenges facing society. Now, developments in the understanding of biology, as well as major advances in digital transformation, are opening up exciting possibilities for new bio-based products, applications, and manufacturing processes. Integrating biosciences and digital technologies can help to reduce the time spent on innovation cycles, from prototyping to scaling and commercialization.

Bringing the desired objective to life, digitally
Traditionally, scientific research is based on trial and error within multiple sub-studies that work together toward a specific objective, such as a new product or production technology. What makes AI unique is that it allows scientists to invert this process. The desired objective is brought to life in a digital environment using ‘digital twins’ (a virtual ‘mirror’ of the desired real-world situation), while machine learning helps determine how to achieve it. Although AI is already widely applied in engineering research – for instance, to replace physical wind turbines or tunnels with digital twins – the AI4B.io Lab will be the first of its kind to explore AI’s potential in biosciences and biomanufacturing.

No innovation without collaboration
Working closely together with partners can drive progress and create access to new technologies. For this reason, DSM decided to partner with TU Delft in setting up and developing the AI4B.io Lab. It will be the third ICAI Lab on the TU Delft Campus, joining the AI for Retail Lab Delft of Ahold Delhaize, and the AI for Fintech Lab of ING. Additionally, TU Delft will invest in 24 interdisciplinary AI laboratories on a broad range of topics further drive collaboration between scientists working in AI and scientists from other domains. The AI4B.io Lab will also collaborate with Planet B.io, the open-innovation ecosystem at the Biotech Campus Delft – for instance, by providing research insights and consultancy to biotechnology startups on the campus. "At Planet B.io, we stimulate open innovation and collaboration between startups, corporations, and knowledge institutes to develop bio-based products and solutions," says Cindy Gerhardt, Managing Director of Planet B.io. "We look forward to working together with the AI4B.io Lab to maximize the potential of AI and biosciences."