NWO has awarded the five Wageningen projects in its new Science Diplomacy Fund. These five teams will organise activities like workshops and exchanges with researchers and stakeholders from Brazil, China, Indonesia, India, Russia, South Africa or Turkey. The Netherlands wants to intensify or improve diplomatic relations with this form of 'science diplomacy'.
The new Science Diplomacy Fund aims to fund scientific activities that can potentially positively contribute to improving diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and partner countries. Activities like workshops, seminars, and exchanges also contribute to the visibility and international position of Dutch science, and to scientific cooperation between the two countries. In the Science Diplomacy Fund, NWO works closely with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including embassies and consulates, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, including the network of innovation attachés, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In the awardings, priority has been given to collaborations with Russia and Turkey, and with countries with which NWO also works bilaterally in the Merian Fund: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and South Africa.
On the national level 34 proposals were awarded. The Wageningen activities are:
Brazil-Netherlands symposium on water technology solutions for arid regions
Pieter van Oel, associate professor, Water Resources Management
Since imperial times, in Northeast Brazil public policies for dealing with drought have included technological interventions such as dams, inter-basin water transfer, pipelines, deep wells, shallow wells, cisterns, and desalination systems. Although partly successful, these interventions have largely failed to serve many remote rural communities. For these communities we propose alternative innovative technological solutions, such as Air-to-Water and Compact Water Treatment equipment. To promote and accelerate its urgently required widespread implementation throughout northeast Brazil we propose a matchmaking event for Dutch and Brazilian researchers, public and private key players in proactive drought management, and entrepreneurs developing these low-cost technological solutions.
Resilience of the Richest Reefs: Building the resilience of Marine Protected Areas to climate change in an age of growing tourism
Lisa Becking, assistant professor, Marine Animal Ecology group.
Indonesia has the highest coral reef biodiversity in the world. These reefs are a focal point for conservation as well as for tourism. Combining the expertise of Indonesian and Dutch scientists, educators, conservationists, and policymakers, we want to understand how the richest reefs of the world can stay resilient to climate change under increasing pressure from tourism. We will study the social-ecological-system, where we take an approach that explicitly links the resilience of ecosystems to governance structures, economies and society. Our aim is to develop knowledge videoclips and shared education and research programs to ensure resilient research for the future.
Re-Feeding Istanbul Event, Towards a more self-reliant Metropolitan Area on the topic of agri-food
Esther van Veen, Assistant professor, Rural Sociology
How to feed a metropole sustainably and healthily, is one of the urgent questions of this epoch. Istanbul feels the reality of that question. The metropole is looking for new pathways that integrate the potential of the metropolitan food production capacities with urban issues as ecology, energy, waste, water management, liveability and urban sprawl. The ‘Re-Feeding Istanbul Event’ brings together Dutch and Istanbul experts and scientists in sustainable urban food production to share knowledge and expertise, and to start with co-visioning new pathways that integrate solutions at the micro, meso and macro level of the metropole.
Strengthening the Science-Policy Interface between the Netherlands and Russia in Sustainable Agriculture and Smart Urban-Rural Innovations (Acronym: RUSARUR)
Vanya van der Grift-Simeonova, Senior expert EU research programmes and funding Sustainable Development & Manager relations Eastern Europe & Russia, Corporate Strategy & Accounts
This RUSARUR project will strengthen the science-policy interface between the Netherlands and Russia in sustainable agriculture innovations in the rural & peri-urban areas. The project focuses on exchange and promotion of scientific insights in development of Sustainable food systems and increase the regional innovation potential. The project promotes new knowledge in interdisciplinary research strategies and cross-sectoral policies, needed to solve key challenges in food production and consumption, value chains, equal access to safe and healthy food and environmental sustainability. RUSARUR is a collaboration between leading Dutch and Russian academic institutions that will stimulate broad stakeholder involvement in research initiatives.
Viruses at the Human-Animal interface: Building Bridges and Crossing Boundaries
Claudius van de Vijver, Head PhD Programme Graduate School PE&RC (Production Ecology and Resource Conservation)
Recent and widespread outbreaks of avian influenza Zika, African swine fever, Ebola, and the current COVID-19 highlight the ever increasing risks that zoonotic viruses pose to human and animal health. To counter this threat our understanding of the epidemiology of viruses at the human and animal interface must be brought to a next level which requires collaborative efforts across countries, disciplines and stakeholders. To this end we present this project which concerns a one-week workshop ending in a seminar in which ErasmusMC, Wageningen and Chinese scientists jointly identify knowledge gaps and focal areas to address this global threat.