Robbert Biesbroek Appointed as Professor of Public Governance and Climate Change Adaptation at Wageningen University and Research

May 29, 2024

Wageningen University and Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Robbert Biesbroek as Professor of Public Governance and Climate Change Adaptation, effective May 1, 2024. Dr. Biesbroek previously served as Associate Professor at the Public Administration and Policy group within the Department of Social Sciences.

In his new role, Professor Biesbroek will spearhead into how state and non-state actors can respond to climate risks in a timely, effective, and equitable manner.

“My team and I aim to investigate if, when and how adaptation is (or is not) taking place across the globe. We will adopt a governance perspective to explore the pathways through which governments, businesses, and civil society together can accelerate actions to ensure timely and effective adaptation to future climate risks and overcome the challenges they encounter. This includes developing new methods and theories to track progress on adaptation, for example through using data science methods,” Professor Biesbroek stated.

Currently, Professor Biesbroek is working on his NWO-VIDI project, which examines the political aspects of tracking adaptation progress. “What gets tracked, by whom, and for what purpose are essentially political questions. However, we know very little of these dynamics and how they shape adaptation action on the ground,” he explained.

As climate impacts such as floods, extreme heat, and wildfires become increasingly evident globally, Professor Biesbroek emphasizes the urgent need for accelerated adaptation actions. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be key to reducing future risks, but we need to accelerate adaptation action now to reduce climate risks. In many places across the world, adaptation is hardly taking place, despite many plans and high ambitions. We often have the technologies to adapt, but factors such as political will, awareness, and limited resources constrain upscaling and acceleration of implementation. Public governance thus becomes critically important,” he said.

Wageningen University and Research, renowned for its long-standing tradition in climate research, is uniquely positioned to lead in climate solutions, both through research and education. Professor Biesbroek’s extensive expertise in climate change adaptation will further strengthen this tradition. He served as Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, co-leading a team that assessed scientific evidence on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in Europe. He also co-led the assessment on social justice and cohesion for the first European Union’s Climate Risk Assessment released earlier this year. Additionally, Professor Biesbroek is a Scientific Member of the World Adaptation Science Program, which aims to close knowledge gaps and inform evidence-based policymaking on adaptation actions, particularly in vulnerable developing countries.