Utrecht University involved in the establishment of Water, Food and Energy Knowledge Centre
Zeeland is intended to become the leading knowledge region in the fields of water, food and energy. To achieve this, Utrecht University is joining forces with other knowledge and education institutions to set up the Delta Knowledge Institute. This knowledge centre, to be based in Vlissingen, will help to shape the social challenge of ‘Living and working in the Delta: climate adaptation through natural solutions’.
The initiative's aim is to realise innovative solutions for a future-proof, safe and prosperous delta. For example, in the future how can we build in a way that makes us resistant to sea level rises but means we don’t have to keep building higher and higher dikes? Or how can we enjoy the food that the sea has to offer, including seaweed and shellfish, while at the same time protecting these natural assets? It goes without saying that the solutions to these issues are not only interesting from a Dutch perspective, but can also be applied beyond national borders.
In order to deal with these social issues, the knowledge centre will involve collaboration between various domains. Energy, water, and food challenges for the future will be viewed through various lenses such as biology, technology, ecology, economics and law, among others. The integration of different types of research and their translation into demand- and problem-driven education at secondary vocational, higher professional and university level makes the initiative unique.
‘The Delta Knowledge Institute is important for our researchers and students."
The establishment of the Delta Knowledge Centre is expected to increase the intake of national and international students at existing education institutions in Zeeland. This is due to the development of new degree programmes and because Wageningen and Utrecht university students in Zeeland can graduate in so-called living labs in collaboration with the business sector. These young, talented graduates will also be more likely to continue to live and work in Zeeland after graduation, as the new institute will also increase employment in the region. The Delta Knowledge Centre will not only generate new jobs at the institute itself but also at the various research and education institutions and new companies that are active in the collaboration.
The plans will be elaborated further during the months ahead. The founders of the Delta Knowledge Centre are Zeeland's Scalda College for Secondary Vocational Education, Zeeland University of Applied Sciences and Utrecht University together with University College Roosevelt and Wageningen University & Research. The partnership is financially supported with more than 68 million euros from the government's compensation package that aims to strengthen the economy and viability of Zeeland.
Rector Henk Kummeling welcomes the establishment of the Delta Knowledge Institute. ‘It is important for Zeeland, with which we already have a connection via UCR, and also offers potentially excellent opportunities for our researchers and students. We have a great deal of knowledge and expertise in the fields of deltas, future food and climate adaptation. Another advantage is the fact that our alliance partner Wageningen University & Research is also taking part.’
The main location of the Delta Knowledge Centre will be at the Kenniswerf in Vlissingen. Related research will however also take place elsewhere in Zeeland, e.g. at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (Nioz) in Yerseke, an organisation that works closely with Utrecht University.