Well prepared for future disasters

News - 22 January 2021 - Webredactie

Yesterday Ernst Kuijpers, Marion Koopmans and Ahmed Aboutaleb presented the Pandemics and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC) of TU Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University Rotterdam during the television programme Jinek. Many researchers are involved, including dr. Tina Comes and prof. Pieter van Gelder. This knowledge centre brings together top scientists with knowledge of pandemic threats and climate-related calamities.

Not invested anywhere
The plan for a Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness Centre is based on a wish expressed by virologist Professor Marion Koopmans, who hopes that the current level of vigilance will not diminish once the pandemic is under control again. Fifty engineers, doctors and scientists from the participating institutes have already joined the PDPC. The municipality of Rotterdam wholeheartedly supports the initiative. Researchers from Delft are enthusiastic.

Monitoring and training
Tina Comes sees a lot in a 'virtual watchtower', an easily accessible information platform where up-to-date information can be made available in a structured way to doctors, safety regions and policymakers. This requires new models based on artificial intelligence to structure information and filter it in the right way. Pieter van Gelder will focus on comparisons between the effects of pandemics, floods, droughts and other disasters. Can we predict expected numbers of patients and economic impact? In a realistic laboratory, training is possible.

This research builds on TU Delft's strong expertise in disasters and resilience. All scientists involved welcome the strengthened cooperation with doctors and virologists.

Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen is delighted: "This initiative is an excellent example of the kind of science that society demands: using different areas of expertise and from various disciplines to jointly develop knowledge that benefits society.