Herman Kasper Gilissen appointed professor of Climate Change, Regulation and Deltas

Herman Kasper Gilissen
Photo: Bas van Hattum

Since his graduation in 2008, cross-border water management in the Zeeland delta, climate adaptation, flood risks and water shortages have been recurring themes in his research. Herman Kasper Gilissen will now become a professor at Utrecht University and the Delta Climate Center in Vlissingen. There he will develop education and conduct research to increase climate resilience in the Zeeland delta. But there are also lessons to be learned for other deltas in the world.

I am happy with all the energy surrounding the newly established center and the approach that has been taken, says Herman Kasper Gilissen. The focus is on solutions, actual applications and that really appeals to me. The strength of the DCC lies in the collaboration between scientific disciplines, but certainly also in the role that governments and private parties in the Zeeland region will play in formulating research questions and solving them. This way of working, from different backgrounds, together on one problem, is unique in the Netherlands." At Utrecht University, Gilissen has been associated with the Utrecht University Center for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law and the Water, Climate and Future Deltas community for many years. In this community, researchers from various scientific disciplines work together to solve water and climate-related issues. Water has therefore played an important role in his research throughout his career. Both protection against water and water shortages. This is also a known problem in Zeeland.

The ambition of the DCC is to make the Zeeland Delta more sustainable and climate-proof. My role is to investigate how law can contribute to this.

New applications bring new responsibilities

Gilissen, who will work half of the time in Vlissingen and the other half in Utrecht, is looking forward to developing and providing education. Part of my assignment is to develop a continuous learning path that promotes education about water management, climate and sustainability between different levels of education. I already have good contacts at University College Roosevelt, HZ University of Applied Sciences (a vocational college) and Scalda (secondary vocational education). They do beautiful things there. In the coming period, based on our common interest, we will find out where and how we can work together.

As a legal scholar, Gilissen welcomes the fact that a lot of room was immediately made for legal-administrative and governance issues when the Delta Climate Center was established. His teaching assignment is: What contribution can law make to increasing climate resilience in the Zeeland region? And what lessons for broader applications can we draw from this for the Netherlands and other places in the world? It is not only about coming up with new technical solutions, but also about the question of what the legal preconditions are and how those solutions can best be implemented administratively and socially in the region.

In addition to Herman Kasper Gilissen, Utrecht University is also appointing a professor from the Faculty of Geosciences and other colleagues, PhD students and students will also have the opportunity to conduct research into water, energy, food and bio-raw materials in Zeeland. My job is also to connect people, both within Utrecht University and between the university, the Delta Climate Center and the Zeeland practice, says Gilissen.

Delta Climate Center

Six educational and knowledge institutions join forces in the Delta Climate Center in Vlissingen, including Utrecht University, Scalda (secondary vocational education), HZ University of Applied Sciences (a university of applied sciences) and Wageningen University and Research. The mission is to increase climate resilience and prosperity in the Zeeland region and to work together from various disciplines on solutions to climate and sustainability issues.