Large power failures or heavy storms demonstrate how vulnerable our infrastructure is. The four technical universities in the Netherlands (Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Twente, and Wageningen University & Research) are joining forces in the field of Resilience Engineering. Today, the plans for the centre have been explained during an international launch event in Rotterdam.
Resilience engineering is the field studying how to make complex technological systems (such as power grids) more resilient. Managing Director of the 4TU Resilience Engineering Centre Dr. Ir. Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen: 'All kinds of technological systems are becoming more and more mutually connected and/or interdependent. That, in combination with developments such as climate change and world population growth, makes societies vulnerable.'
'In our knowledge centre, we combine the expertise of scientists and engineers in various fields to tackle the great challenges of today and tomorrow. In this way, we can build resilient societies that can reduce or absorb the impact of incidents, disasters, and long-term stress.'
Investing in knowledge and scientists
The 4TU Federation will invest 4.5 million Euro into energizing research and research capacity in the field of resilience technology in the coming years. To that purpose, the DeSIRE (Designing Systems for Informed Resilience Engineering) programme was founded. Next to the existing group of over forty scientists, the universities will be recruiting sixteen new, young, talented scientists in the field of resilience technology.
Programme Leader Professor Tatiana Filatova: 'With DeSIRE, we intend to use insights into resilience technology to reinforce societal resilience. We will develop new training programmes for scientists and professionals in the field. With the Resilience Academy we will train a new generation of engineers. We have already started numerous partnerships for the practical application of knowledge, with (among others) Special Envoy for International Water Affairs Henk Ovink, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and NG Infra (Schiphol Group, Port of Rotterdam Authority, Rijkswaterstaat, ProRail, Alliander, Vitens).'
Cooperation Rotterdam and The Hague
On top of this, today, during the annual Resilient Rotterdam conference, a declaration of intent was signed between the 4TU RE Centre and the municipalities of Rotterdam and The Hague. That heralds the beginning of a cooperation that is to lead to the development of new knowledge and practical applications for urgent challenges facing cities. This include, among others, climate change, digitization, and the transition to the use of new energy sources.
Rotterdam and The Hague are the two Dutch cities that are part of the worldwide 100 Resilient Cities network, which was initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation. Chief Resilience Officer of Rotterdam, Arnoud Molenaar: 'By joining forces, we will make the concept of “urban resilience” into a practical reality. The universities are contributing ‘state-of-the-art’ scientific insights, and the cities experiences and practical urban development questions. This will bring designing and developing technical infrastructure up to a whole new level and will implement the resilience strategies of Rotterdam and The Hague.'