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Old 04-08-2012, 04:06 AM
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Water Research Centre Delft

From WRCD to Delft Research Initiative Environment

Nick van de Giesen, February 2009

One year ago, the start of the International Research Platforms was announced in the WRCD Newsletter. The WRCD chair, Prof. Marcel Stive, was to prepare a campus wide initiative under the theme “Environment”. Other platforms would cover Infrastructure, Energy, and Health. The objective was to found campus-wide groups of scientists who would join efforts to improve the (international) profile of TU Delft in the particular field. The platforms would replace the thirteen research centres, of which WRCD is/was one. Several larger brainstorm sessions have been organized in 2008, resulting in a multi-year plan for the Delft Research Initiative Environment or DEnvI. Prof. Stive had the great wisdom not to become director of DEnvI, and arranged for that honor to be bestowed upon me.

Over the past year, there has been some confusion concerning the purpose and means of the Delft Research Initiatives (DRI’s), as can already be seen from the name change. At one point we had about thirteen themes within DEnvI, which would had the net effect of changing from thirteen RCD’s with about four themes each to four DRI’s with about thirteen themes each. In the end, five themes have been included in the proposal. These themes are:
· Urban Environment . The future of the built environment, delta cities, floating cities, sustainable delta design, climate proof cities, urban metabolism.
· Delta Technology . Coastal & river engineering, polders, soft underground.
· Environmental monitoring . Distributed observations, new sensors, multi-sensor data fusion, remote sensing.
· Carbon Capture & Sequestration . Potential, techniques, CO2 transport, governance.
In addition Water , should be explicitly recognized as a PR theme. Water is too broad a theme to serve as focal point on campus (unique fact in itself!). Still, it should be recognized that our image as a motor of innovation in the water sector is recognized worldwide and sometimes even in The Hague. The content of these themes are still not fully defined yet. For example, the role of the Faculty Technology, Policy and Management (TBM) is not well articulated in the present naming and wording of the themes, whereas TBM central role is widely recognized.

The Jetski in action in France

The objectives of DEnvI are threefold:
  • External profiling of TU Delft with respect to theme "Environment".
    This will include a yearly conference of international prominence.
  • Acquisition of funding.
    Acquisition of larger projects will be professionalized whereby support from the Valorization Center will be essential.
  • Campus-wide network. DEnvI will become the logical place for environmental research and education initiatives.
Not through top-down coordination but through professional facilitation, DEnvI will foster cross-campus cooperation. Formally, DEnvI is not the continuation of WRCD. WRCD will actually continue to exist as a campus-wide network of water researchers. You will, however, find most of the WRCD scientists also back in DEnvI, where water will be an important rallying theme. Perhaps the most important aspect of WRCD that will be taken over by DEnvI is the open and inclusive atmosphere that characterized WRCD.
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