WUR works to make the Netherlands future proof during the 2023 Innovation Expo

November 3, 2023

Wageningen University & Research was well-represented at the 2023 Innovation Expo: Tim van Hattum delivered a keynote on the path towards a nature and climate-positive Netherlands, and rector Arthur Mol presented this year’s TO2MORROW magazine.

The InnovatieExpo is a bi-annual event designed to link knowledge institutes, businesses and administrations. The event focuses on innovations that improve our living environment, which is under pressure due to the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss. Hence, the theme of this year’s expo was the future-proof Netherlands. Programme Leader Climate Tim van Hattum presented seven pathways towards a climate-proof Netherlands in the keynote he delivered on behalf of WUR.

Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol presented Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Micky Adriaansens with the TO2MORROW magazine. In it, the TO2 federation presents the results of scientific research for governments and businesses. The TO2 federation is a collaboration between Deltares, Marin, NLR, TNO and WUR, working on solutions to societal issues.

Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol presents the TO2MORROW magazine.
Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol presents the TO2MORROW magazine.

The 2023 Innovation Expo took place on Thursday, 2 November, in the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam. There were some two thousand attendants and over forty speakers. The event is organised by the Government Service for Dutch Entrepreneurs (RVO).

Future perspective NL2120

‘My keynote focused on examples, connecting and accelerating’, Van Hattum says. He and his team developed a future perspective centred around the natural system: NL 2120. ‘On our path towards a nature and climate-positive Netherlands, the first thing we need is our imagination. We need a hopeful future, one that inspires us. Achieving this future calls for an integrated approach. This means that all of the Netherlands -administrations, businesses and knowledge institutes- must collaborate intensively. The IPCC report reveals that we must accelerate, and that is something we must do together.’

Earlier this year, Van Hattum delivered the annual Mansholt lecture. In it, he presented the start of a nature-positive perspective for Europe. A future in which humans and nature work together, the effects of climate change are slowed down, and biodiversity flourishes.

Clean, safe, sustainable and prospering

‘In the TO2MORROW magazine, the TO2 institutes detail how they collaborate with each other and with their partners to achieve innovative solutions and contribute to a clean, safe, sustainable and prospering Netherlands and Europe’, Mol explains. The Innovation Expo is the perfect occasion to celebrate these solutions.

WUR scientists have made important contributions to TO2 projects. For example, WUR researchers work on more accurately measuring nitrogen deposition in nature reserve Liefstinghsbroek. In order to achieve a more concise view of the distribution of nitrogen deposition, they combined measuring equipment, meteorological data and data on agriculture. In a different project, Bas Breman and his team investigate how spatial planning can address nature more intelligently. Using water and soil systems as a basis for each new development ensures that the most fertile soils remain available for agriculture while housing is kept safe from the impacts of flooding.

Download the TO2MORROW magazine