UTFacultiesBMSNewsMonika Kuffer as of 15 April professor of BMS

Monika Kuffer as of 15 April professor of BMS

From 15 April, Monika Kuffer will start as a full professor on the chair Sustainability of Rural-Urban Systems at the Faculty of BMS, Section of Governance and Technology for Sustainability (CSTM). She will fulfil this role within the CSTM section. Monika will combine her existing role within ITC with her professorship within BMS. "I want to bring research on government policies and data-driven methods together at a global scale to bring evidence to the growing sustainability challenges," she says.

Monika has been associated with ITC (ITC being part of the University of Twente since 2010) for a long time. In 2000, she started at ITC as an exchange student. She then left for Austria to work for a period at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Before eventually returning to the University of Twente. For a long time at ITC and now in combination with BMS.

Sustainability of rural and urban settlements

All over the world, the boundary between rural and urban settlements is fuzzy, highly dynamic, and many challenges exist. For example, climate change is transforming urban and rural environments. The spatial footprint of growing populations, urbanization, migration, changes in lifestyles, preferences and consumption patterns confront us with extreme and complex situations. This results in "rurban regions", where urban sprawl intertwines the land use, activities and needs of rural and urban populations.

"An example of a research, I am working on is developing a new mission proposal for ESA to build a night light satellite. My focus here is on Africa to investigate where (stable) access to electricity is lacking. In the context of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 and its first indicator to ensure access to electricity. Access to electricity is a critical factor in the improvement of livability, economic development, and security. However, in contrast to stopping the overuse of artificial lights. For example, the Netherlands is a ‘global hotspot’ of light pollution. A development I follow closely is to reduce light pollution and to improve access to sustainable lighting," Kuffer indicates.

Interfaculty cooperation

The combination of the different roles within the University of Twente is a great added value for BMS and ITC. Kuffer explains: "I bring data but also a user-centred perspective on sustainable development (e.g., SDGs), climate change & (urban) poverty. My experience within the field is large, so I take a large network (Africa, Asia and Latin America, besides the US and Europe) with me that we can make use of. I'm looking forward to learning and engaging with research on governance (so far, my focus has been mainly on sustainability & technology). Also to get new perspectives and co-designing a research agenda that relates to the main global challenges. And to be a bridge between BMS and ITC."

Centre of Excellence

"Within the professorship, I want to work on spatial models of sustainability linked to demographic, settlement and socio-economic dynamics to frame transdisciplinary research and policy. Developing a knowledge centre for Sustainable Development Goals and solutions to sustainability challenges through transdisciplinary research is also something I have on my list. Plenty to do, and I am looking forward to getting started," Kuffer concludes.