As of 1 September 2018, Dr Veena Srinivasan will hold the Prince Claus Chair at Utrecht University for her research into sustainable and inclusive food production in Asian delta regions. With this position, Srinivasan is keen to not only contribute to delta and food research being conducted in Utrecht, but also to play a role in further intensifying collaboration between Dutch and Indian institutions.
Deltas in Asia are fertile areas, but are therefore also densely populated and bursting with economic activity. A great deal of food is produced in deltas, both for the domestic population and for export. However, due to their location on low-lying ground, these delta regions are vulnerable to river and coastal flooding. Construction to cater for the flourishing economy and growing population has caused additional subsidence, and the effects of this are already visible in food production.
A sustainable and inclusive transition
With her research at Utrecht University, Srinivasan wants to contribute to a transition in the Asian delta areas to sustainable land use, with room for both food production and urbanisation. On the one hand, she is researching how land use can better anticipate changing circumstances such as drought, flooding and urbanisation. On the other, she is keen to work towards changes to water management in delta regions, so that the transition is both sustainable and inclusive. Srinivasan aims to contribute to more involvement from the local population in both the decision-making process and the creation of a more sustainable food production and urbanisation.
Pathways to Sustainability
With her research, Srinivasan will participate in two transdisciplinary research programmes: Water, Climate and Future Deltas and Future Food. Both programmes are part of Pathways to Sustainability, one of Utrecht University’s four strategic research themes. Srinivasan is being appointed to the International Development Studies research centre in the Department of Human Geography and Planning (Faculty of Geosciences).
About Veena Srinivasan
Dr Veena Srinivasan obtained her doctorate from Stanford University in 2008 with research into the influence of urbanisation on water shortages in developing countries. She studied in Boston and Mumbai, and conducted research at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development in Bengaluru (India). After obtaining her PhD, she continued working at Stanford as a post-doctoral researcher, where she founded the Freshwater Initiative. She is currently a fellow of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), an academic think tank in Bengaluru.
Prince Claus Chair
The Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity is a chair that is held alternately by Utrecht University and the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Exceptional young academics from developing countries are eligible for this position. Both institutions use the chair to advance research and education in the field of international development and equity, in line with the ideas and work of the late Prince Claus. Professor Louise Gunning is the chair of the board of governors of the Prince Claus Chair. Queen Máxima is the patron of the chair.