Brightlands Smart Health Lab

The Brightlands Smart Health Lab is a collaboration between Maastricht University, Brightlands Institute for Smart Society, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Maastro Clinic, Maastricht UMC+, ilionx and Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organization. The lab aims to create a smarter and more personalized learning health system.

The lab’s efforts specifically focuses on artificial intelligence that can predict how a patient’s disease will develop. In this way, the technology can help map out treatment plans for diseases like cancer. The lab’s mission is threefold. First, it wants to get health data into a state (FAIR) where it can be used by AI developers. NLP, automated image processing and knowledge graphs are studied to get FAIR data out of medical records and images. Second, it wants to develop AI to predict future health states as a function of intervention. For this, explainable AI using causal models and other classical machine learning and deep learning approaches are used. And third, the lab wants to introduce AI into the health system and study its effect using (shared) decision making support tools.

Knowledge transfer

The lab consists of nine PhD students, mentored by senior scientists who are all working at the partners. All PhD students are physically located at the partner and thus offer a direct route to knowledge transfer to the partners of the lab.

Together, the diverse societal partners in the lab provide an ideal test and application environment for the research performed. The organizations that collaborate in the Brightlands Smart Health Lab jointly cover the entire process required to responsibly develop AI for healthcare: from technical AI research to real-life use cases, from data to care professionals, and from know-how of customer solutions to the Brightlands ecosystem that connects the lab to new partners and national efforts like the Dutch AI Coalition.


The regional Brightlands Ecosystem is used for regional knowledge transfer partners. Specifically the Brightlands AI Hub, Brightlands Institute for Smart Society, Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus and Brightlands Smart Services Campus offer an existing quadruple helix environment in which knowledge from the lab is transferred to citizens, companies and societal partners.

A selection of research topics

Deap learning based NLP from medical free text

Outcome prediction models for radiation oncology

Radiation oncology patient decisions aids

Scientific Directors

Andre Dekker

Rianne Fijten

Alberto Traverso

Andre Dekker is professor of clinical data science at Maastricht University and medical physicist at Maastro Clinic.
Rianne Fijten is senior scientist of clinical data science at Maastro Clinic.
Alberto Traverso is physicist and clinical data scientist at Maastro Clinic.


Brightlands Institute for Smart Society (BISS) connects Maastricht University’s academic knowledge and expertise in data science with societal needs.
Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus is the place where researchers, doctors and entrepreneurs work together on innovation in healthcare, medicine and life sciences.
Brightlands Smart Services Campus is the place where digital starters, companies, governments, research institutes and students learn, innovate and grow together.
Ilionx is an IT service provider in healthcare that offers consultancy for hopitals and healthcare institutions.
Maastricht University is a public research university in Maastricht.
Maastricht University Medical Centre+ is a partnership between Maastricht University Hospital and Maastricht University’s Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences.
Maastro Clinic‘s research focuses on implementing technological advances to improve normal tissue sparing, enhancing tumor control and developing Shared Decision models.
Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organization (IKNL) is an independent knowledge institute for oncological and palliative care.
Zuyd is a university of applied sciences located in the heart of Europe that focuses on education for students, research for companies and institutes, and training courses for professionals.