'We need renowned AI experts next door'

AI has implications outside the realm of computers: through a collaboration AI is applied to help chemists develop new, sustainable materials.

‘AI is an indispensable tool to achieve the material transition needed for a sustainable society’, says Bernd Ensing, associate professor of Computational Chemistry and leading the AI4SMM research group (Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Molecules and Materials) at the University of Amsterdam.

Scientists of the UvA's Informatics Institute and the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences have developed and applied molecules and materials needed for a sustainable future.

AI can for example help making sustainable and plant-based meat replacements. Alberto Pérez de Alba Ortíz, who also works in AI4SMM, explains: ‘The focus of our project is on modeling the assembly of multiple plant proteins into an aggregate with the required properties. It might or might not be meat-like, but it must have the right texture, mouthfeel, stickiness, and other parameters for people to enjoy it.’

Bringing researchers together will be one of the main benefits of the AI4SMM program. 

‘We are facing a pressing societal sustainability issue to which we as scientists can provide very important solutions. With AI4SMM we hope to make a substantial contribution. I see my role as a facilitator, to make sure we effectively join forces when it comes to achieving results with the application of AI in the fields of chemistry, materials and sustainability.’