Ronald Leonard Westra, PhD (1956, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) studied Theoretical Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics at Utrecht University where he received Bachelor and Master degrees with honors in Mathematical Physics on a thesis on the fractal geometry of dynamical systems (1982). After graduation, he held various positions as scientific researcher in Physics and Mathematics in Academia and Industry, including the NIKHEF of the University of Amsterdam on High-Energy Physics, and the Solvay Institute for Theoretical Physics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, where he studied complex network systems.
In 1990 he became Senior Researcher and Group Leader of the Control and Engineering Group of the Research Institute for Knowledge Systems (RIKS) of the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (now UM) in Maastricht, where he was responsible for the coordination and acquisition of industrial and scientific research projects. In this capacity, he proposed and instigated several national and international research projects in Artificial Intelligence. In this position, in the period 1996-2000, he collaborated as associate researcher at Philips Research Laboratories, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, leading to his Ph.D. degree at Maastricht University in Mathematical Systems Theory and Artificial Intelligence on the subject of Computer Vision and Image Analysis (2001).
In 1997 he joined the Department of Mathematics of Maastricht University as Research Manager and Associate Professor. Here he initiated and managed several National and International Research collaborations related to Applied Mathematics, resulting in several European Union and nationally funded collaborative research projects. Also, he was responsible for teaching in Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy, and later Bioinformatics, and the supervision of numerous BSc, MSc students, and several PhD students.
Since 2002, he is also visiting Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Hasselt University, Belgium, where he is active in teaching and collaborating in research in computational genomics and as PhD supervisor.
In 2008 he was appointed as Head of the Biomathematics and Bioinformatics Group.
In recent years he is involved in a number of research projects related to Biomathematics and Bioinformatics, involved in the organization of various workshops in this field (KDECB’2006, FiCE’2008, FiCE’2009), and also responsible for teaching in those areas.