The Vlissingen marina. Photo: Pixabay

Utrecht University joins Zeeland knowledge centre on water, food, and energy


Along with three other knowledge institutions, Utrecht University wants to establish the Delta Knowledge Centre in Vlissingen. The centre’s main task will be: ‘Living and working in the Delta: climate adaptation through natural solutions.’ The UU is highly enthusiastic about this establishment, says rector Henk Kummeling.

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The plans for the Delta Knowledge Centre are still in their early stages. The founders are the Zeeland-based Scalda for vocational education, Zeeland University of applied sciences, Utrecht University and University College Roosevelt (UCR), and Wageningen University. The collaboration will receive 68 million euros of financial support from the government’s compensation agreement that’s meant to strengthen the economy and liveability in the province of Zeeland, says Zeeland University of applied sciences on its website. This is a little less than half of the required budget. The educational institutions will contribute the remaining millions. The plans will be finetuned throughout the coming months.

Last week, news programme 1Vandaag already announced the UU plans to join the future knowledge centre, which will be located in Vlissingen. The 68 million euros are part of the compensation funds from the government now that the Marine base is not moving from Doorn to Vlissingen. At the time of the 1Vandaag announcement, Utrecht University was unwilling to respond, as the government had not yet made a final decision. However, the plans were confirmed by the government on Friday afternoon, and so rector Henk Kummeling is ready to elaborate on the plans.

“We’re welcome this establishment and we’re participating in the creation of its plans. It’s important for Zeeland, to which we’re connected through UCR, but it may also offer beautiful opportunities for our researchers and students.”

The research is meant to realise innovative solutions for a ‘future-proof, safe, thriving delta’ and will focus on water, food, and energy. The centre will employ a multidisciplinary approach of several disciplines and research, which will be both fundamental and applied, and will find its way to education at mbo (vocational school), hbo (university of applied sciences), and university. Kummeling explains: “We have a lot of knowledge and expertise on deltas, future food, and climate adaptation. It’s also a plus that our alliance partner Wageningen University & Research is joining this project as well.”

Kummeling says the UU hasn’t committed itself to specific financial contributions yet; it’s now time to further detail the plans. The UU will, at least, contribute with expertise, education, and supervision of PhD candidates and Postdocs.

The Delta Knowledge Centre’s main building will be located at the Kenniswerf (Knowledge Wharf) in Vlissingen, although affiliated studies will take place elsewhere in Zeeland, such as at the Nioz in Yerseke – one of the UU’s close collaboration partners. University College Roosevelt, in Middelburg, is also part of the UU

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