Zero Hunger Lab and Kickstart AI join in deploying AI to increase food security

On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, Kickstart AI and Tilburg University’s Zero Hunger Lab signed a sponsorship agreement, laying the groundwork for further research into the applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to public domain data to better predict food insecurity and improve timely interventions.

Marike Knoef, Dean of the Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TiSEM), has signed the deal on behalf of Tilburg University/Zero Hunger Lab: "We are very pleased with this agreement. Kickstart AI’s sponsorship of Zero Hunger Lab fits the collaborative partners’ belief that Artificial Intelligence will change our collective future. The sponsorship will accelerate developments to enhance society."

From start to future

In the summer of 2022, Cascha van Wanrooij graduated at Zero Hunger Lab with a thesis on this subject and came up with some promising early results. Cascha is now going to do PhD research into AI and predicting food security. Aid organization , a collaborative partner of Zero Hunger Lab, is very interested and supports this research with data and local domain knowledge. Food system resilience and anticipatory action are two key topics for this study, which are also central to the development policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, given the Dutch expertise in the field of food systems and foresight studies.


The project will bring positive change to people’s livelihoods as food crises can be predicted rather than observed when they have materialized. It will also make use of public data to assess broader trends and their impact in the field. The methods developed will be as generic as possible, allowing them to be applied in many other contexts as well. What the organizations behind Kickstart AI (Ahold Delhaize, ING, NS, KLM) and Tilburg University have in common is that they have sharing knowledge on the theme of digitalization and AI high on the agenda. The collaboration between Kickstart AI and Tilburg University’s Zero Hunger Lab is the practical application of giving back to society.

In the back from left to right: Juan Sebastian Olier Jauregui (TSHD), Frans Cruijssen (Zero Hunger Lab), Cascha van Wanrooij (Zero Hunger Lab), Laura Lewis (Kickstart AI), Hein Fleuren (Zero Hunger Lab), Miriam Crousen (Zero Hunger Lab)

In the front: Marike Knoef (Dean TiSEM) and Sander Stomph (Managing director Kickstart AI)

Zero Hunger Lab and Kickstart AI

Based on data science, Tilburg University’s Zero Hunger Lab contributes to realizing the Sustainable Development Goal #2 - Zero Hunger - agreements. It does so by collaborating with aid organizations, development organizations, companies, the government, and knowledge institutions that are also committed to a world without hunger. Zero Hunger Law helps by making smart use of math and algorithms to make better decisions in an increasingly complex world. In other words: how can you tap into the power of data science for a better world and a healthy planet?

Kickstart AI is committed to connecting and involving AI professionals and initiates partnerships which benefits everyone in the Netherlands. Every project is open-source, so the entire AI community is welcome to use the results - and build on them.