SELECTED RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
Multi-sector partnerships key in disaster risk reduction
As natural catastrophes, such as floods, heatwaves or wildfires, are expected to become more frequent and intense in the future, mitigating their impacts through working partnerships and the dissemination of risk information is vital. This is the message highlighted by the EU-funded research project ENHANCE, led by IVM, that was recently completed. The core objective of ENHANCE was to develop novel ways to enhance society’s resilience to natural disasters by focusing on 10 case studies which span the European continent and address a diverse range of risks and hazards. ENHANCE was carried out by 24 partners, including academic institutes, governmental sector, private companies and international organisations, from 11 European countries. The findings are collected in a book (see also the list of publications below). For more information, please visit the project website: www.enhanceproject.eu.
The Anthropocene – a new era for planet earth?
Whether we call it ‘Anthropocene’ or not, we live in an era in which the species homo sapiens dominates this planet in many respects. This has far reaching implications and raises many questions, including ethical ones. IVM researchers contributed to a recent book on Environmental Politics and Governance in the Anthropocene, and IVM (together with the VU Faculty of Theology) has taken the initiative for a Senior and a Junior Fellowship in Ethics of the Anthropocene. Within this framework, Prof. Christopher Preston from the University of Montana is currently visiting IVM. His research addresses, among other things, the role of technologies like nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and climate engineering; the future of ‘the wild’ in the Anthropocene; and issues such as de-extinction, assisted migration of species, and directed evolution.
Land and water management in the Amsterdam region
IVM is developing partnerships with various organisations in and around Amsterdam to help them find new ways of dealing with the challenges posed by the region’s land and water resources and the many (often competing) claims on them. The peat meadow areas surrounding Amsterdam are characterized by subsidence of the peat soil and deteriorating conditions for cattle farming. Students from the Earth and Economics course have assisted the organisation Commonland in developing a knowledge base that will support the development of promising, sustainable types of alternative land use. IVM has also started to cooperate with the regional water supply and management organisations (Waternet and Waterschap AGV) on an innovative water governance programme. These activities take place within the framework of Amsterdam Water Science.
Record number of ERM students in course 2016-2017
Some 90 students from all over the world started in September the Environment and Resource Management (ERM) master’s course, hosted by IVM. This is the largest number in the ERM’s history. During the last three months of the course (April – June) the students will apply their acquired knowledge and skills to a ‘real world’ problem. This research project, on which they will also write their final thesis, can be done at IVM or in an external host organisation. If your company or institution would like to offer an internship to an ERM student who can address a specific research question for you, please contact the ERM internship coordinator Dr Hans van der Woerd (email@example.com).
Honours course ‘Designing Innovations for Sustainability’
In February 2017 a new course called ‘Designing Innovations for Sustainability’ will start in the Vrije Universiteit’s Honours Programme. This interdisciplinary course, organised by IVM, aims at designing innovative solutions for a more sustainable university through creative team work, solid theoretical and practical knowledge exchange and intensive coaching by experts in sustainability. Honours courses are intended for talented bachelor students who want to broaden their horizon with additional subjects to their regular studies.