Rogier van der Weerd appointed as new managing director – “Adessium’s mission has become more urgent”
Rogier van der Weerd has returned to Adessium Foundation and has been appointed managing director. Following a hiatus of three years, during which he completed a Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence and worked at TNO (Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research), Rogier will form one half of Adessium’s management team alongside director of programs, Martijn Meijer. From 2009 to 2020, Rogier held various positions within Adessium. Prior to this period, he spent around a decade as a strategy consultant, initially at Monitor Group (now part of Deloitte) and later at Boer & Croon. He is an aerospace engineer by training.
What experiences have you gained over the past few years?
“The main driver behind my decision to go back to university three years ago was my curiosity about developments in artificial intelligence. I learned about the fundamentals of AI, such as math, probability theory and causality, in the two-year program at the University of Amsterdam. I also studied the various application areas of AI, such as natural language processing and computer vision – in short, how AI identifies objects and individuals in videos and images. I was particularly interested in its societal applications. I completed my graduate project at the AI lab of the Dutch Police, which ultimately led me to the defense & security unit at TNO. During my time there, I worked with several national security organizations on the implementation of technological innovations, including AI and robotics.”
Did you keep an eye on Adessium throughout the years?
“Naturally, I kept up with Adessium’s endeavors, and in recent years, global, European and national developments have made Adessium’s mission more urgent. With time, I came to realize even more that this organization has a distinctive role to play. Fundamentally, this centers on prioritizing the public interest in society, focusing on the state of nature and the environment, and caring for each other. The role of digitization and technologies such as AI – with both opportunities and threats for society – is also an aspect of that multi-faceted mission. The possibility of supporting solution-oriented civil society initiatives is unique, and I consider it a privilege to be in a position to contribute to this.”
What are your plans for Adessium?
“In the short term, I will be exploring the new directions the organization has taken. I also want to get to know the new Adessium partners, for example, in the field of chemical pollution and its effect on the environment and public health. I look forward to setting priorities for the coming years together with our founders, management team, employees and external partners. In particular, I would like to consolidate Adessium’s unique approach. The emphasis on an ‘informed society’ forms an important basis, for instance through our support of investigative journalism as means for truth finding and analyzing societal issues. We are witnessing a rise in media created with AI, deep fakes, mis- and disinformation. Objective and independent verification will become more important than ever. This will also have an impact on all the other themes Adessium focuses on. While we remain a relatively young organization, we are steadily maturing and evolving. We are in a position to foster new coalitions and initiatives, in collaboration with external partners. Fortunately, we can build on our successes from the recent past.”