How the Ministry of Defence Ensures Safe Innovation: In conversation with Sofie Berns, Head of Datalab at Ministry of Defence

May 16, 2024

During this Vision Dinner, Sofie sheds light on the issues and challenges surrounding data, innovation, and collaboration in a highly protected environment. Here, she discusses how collaboration with partners on innovation in data science and AI is explored using Cloud. As an illustration, she shares a case study about LLMs. Following the presentation, there is an opportunity for dialogue on these themes with Sofie and the other participants. We would find it incredibly interesting to hear your own vision, approach, and challenges as well. You are most welcome to join us!

  • Small-scale peer session
  • Open dialogue by means of the Chatham House Rule

Sofie Berns, Ministry of Defence

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Sofie Berns

Head Datalab

With a background in Public Administration, Sofie Berns has profound knowledge of government organizations. Before joining The Ministry of Defence as Head of Datalab, Sofie worked as a Senior Consultant at Berenschot. In that role, she advised national and local governments on leveraging new technologies for societal issues. She further expanded her expertise at the Municipality of Utrecht, where she led projects in data infrastructure among other responsibilities. At the Ministry of Defence, she continues her commitment to innovation and data within government agencies as Head of Datalab.

Ministry of Defence


The Ministry of Defence is transforming into a high-tech organization that operates on an information-driven basis - from strategic to operational levels. Within this strategy, the Datalab is intrinsically motivated to make Defence a global leader in the performance of its tasks: falling behind is simply not an option. A crucial role for Data Science and AI lies within this framework. Sofie Berns, Head of Datalab, explores with the Datalab how the potential of these technologies can be unlocked and innovations based on them can be operationalized throughout Defence. But how do you do this in an efficient manner and how do you leverage the knowledge of other parties without compromising security in that collaboration?


Location: HFSLG, Bosch en Duin

17:30 | Start program (including presentation, discussion and a 3-course dinner)
20:30 | End of formal program, opportunity for informal networking


Directors in IT & Data in government

Main language



  • Participants have to meet the previously described target audience.
  • If applicable, our partners will be presented with every application.
  • During all our sessions, the Chatham House Rule applies. This means that the participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. This means that no report, no photos and no recordings are made of the meeting. The presentation will also not be distributed to the participants afterwards.
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