4TU Resilience Engineering Centre officially launched

News - 07 June 2018 - Communication

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 and Research) are joining forces in the field of Resilience Engineering. On 7 June, the plans for the centre have been explained during an international launch event in Rotterdam.

4tu resilience Resilience engineering is the field studying how to make complex technological systems (such as power grids) more resilient. The 4TU Resilience Engineering Centre combines the expertise of scientists and engineers in various fields to tackle the great challenges of today and tomorrow. Tina Comes, Associate Professor and Delft Technology Fellow on Designing Resilience, and co-director of the 4TU RES: "I believe that we cannot do without a resilience perspective on society and that resilience will be a key topic in the next two decades. Extreme events have become more and more severe. Whether it is storms in The Netherlands, political instability or hurricanes elsewhere in the world, these disruptions have become more common. That shift motivates me to look for systems that allow failure to occur and that can not only bounce back after disaster, but can learn from it so that eventually they become better adapted to adversity and disaster."

Bas Jonkman, professor of Hydraulic Engineering at TU Delft and member of the 4TU RES steering group: "Studying the impact of disasters like hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Harvey in Houston, I realize that as scientists and engineers, we are good at managing risks and preparing for potential adversity within our specific fields. But in order to really build cities that are able to deal with stress or disaster, this fragmented approach falls short. We don’t just need dikes which are high enough to withstand rising water levels and power lines which can withstand a storm, we need to look at disaster management, power supply, communication, organization, hydraulic engineering and many other aspects in an integrated way. I believe Resilience Engineering offers a method to do so and can help us become less vulnerable."

Investing in knowledge and scientists
The 4TU Federation will invest 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 7 June, during the annual Resilient Rotterdam conference, a declaration of intent was signed between the 4TU Resilience Engineering 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 includes, 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.”

For more information on the centre, please visit www.4tu.nl/resilience