Climate scientists launch national climate research initiative


A broad collective of Dutch climate researchers, including Utrecht researchers Sanli Faez (Faculty of Science), Liesbeth van de Grift (Faculty of Humanities) and Marjolijn Haasnoot (Faculty of Geosciences), are uniting in a task force at the request of the KNAW and NWO. Before the summer, this group will publish a report on the establishment of a new network institute for science-wide climate research. The task force will look at how Dutch climate researchers from all disciplines can join forces for a common agenda for climate research and how existing knowledge and expertise can be better streamlined and integrated. The working title for the task force is the National Initiative on Climate Research.

The task force is composed of researchers from knowledge institutions across the country, with the broadest possible range of expertise – from environmental psychology to water management, from climate history to innovation studies – within climate research. The group will be expanded as needed to include specific areas of expertise.

Comprehensive problem addressed jointly

The creation of this task force follows an advice from the Standing Committee on National Institutes (PCNI) and the insight that various forms of climate-related research will have to cooperate to a far-reaching degree in the future. The PCNI’s inventory showed, among other things, that Dutch scientists consider the problems surrounding climate change to be so comprehensive and urgent that the Dutch scientific community as a whole should join forces as soon as possible.

On the basis of the advice, NWO and KNAW decided to work out three tracks: 1) a national pact with all parties in the Netherlands working on climate-related research, 2) a new style of institute that can function as a network organisation and take on the coordination of research, and 3) setting up a programme for integrated climate research. Both organisations are asking the Task Force to further develop and concretize these three tracks.

Taskforce members

In addition to the Utrecht researchers Sanli Faez, Liesbeth van de Grift and Marjolijn Haasnoot (Deltares/UU), the task force also consists of Heleen de Coninck (chair; TU/e, RU), Han Dolman (NIOZ), Jan Willem Erisman (UL), Carolien Kroeze (WUR), Andrea Ramirez (TUD), Gerard van der Steenhoven (KNMI), Linda Steg (RUG) and Diana Suhardiman (KITLV-KNAW).