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The Resilience@UT programme

RECOGNIZING THE URGENT NEED FOR A MORE RESILIENT WORLD IN ORDER TO RESPOND TO A COMPLEX AND RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD, THE “RESILIENCE@UT” PROGRAMME HAS BECOME ONE OF THE UNIVERSITY TWENTE’S SPEARHEADS FOR RESEARCH AND CAPACITY BUILDING.

We live in an increasingly complex and interconnected world in which societal and environmental changes have an increasingly higher impact on our natural environment and human well-being. As the impacts of environmental and societal changes are increasingly difficult to anticipate, we need to strengthen our resilience to these changes.

The interfaculty Resilience@UT programme was established to respond to the challenges of rising disaster losses, a changing climate, inadequate healthcare, and societal unrest, and crime. The programme combines the expertise and interests of its academic community together with that of public and private sector partners to develop and implement a joint research agenda and consequently promote a resilient society.

The resilience programme connects people from research and capacity development from the five UT faculties with partners in Twente, the Netherlands and internationally.

The resilience of agroforestry in Twente

We sat down with Martijn Aalbrecht to talk about his project "De Voedselboss" near Hengelo. He told us about the differences between agroforestry and conventional agriculture, water resilience, using plant varieties from other regions and the surprising role of chickens in the forest.

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Work of first responders made safer

The project “Supporting first responders in complex indoor/outdoor emergency scenarios with UAV-based mapping, using advanced computer vision and machine learning” (INGENIOUS) is in its third year and has been funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Researchers have been developing smart uniforms, boots, and helmets that track both health indicators of and environmental hazards around the user. 

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Strengthening the resilience of water-soil-plant systems

On October 12, 2022, Dr. Yijian Zeng of ITC's Department of Water Resources was invited to present the WUNDER project (Water Use and Drought Ecohydrological Responses of Agricultural and Nature Ecosystems in the Netherlands)  to Mark Harbers, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, (see article on this visit here). The WUNDER consortium unites 19 partners from the public and private sectors to develop adaptation measures to reduce drought effects on diverse water-soil-plant systems (such as crops).

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WHAT IS RESILIENCE

We view resilience as the capacity of our society and the systems upon which it depends to effectively respond to sudden or gradual disruptions (e.g., earthquakes, flooding, drought, epidemics, violence or crime). This means that when subjected to a disturbance, the affected system may be:

(Source: Helfgott, 2018, p. 853)

WHAT WE DO

The university community together with stakeholders and public-private partners work together to identify synergies and promote collaboration that lead to solutions that strengthen societal and systemic resilience. The focus is on the UT’s research expertise but also education, knowledge valorisation, capacity building, demonstration projects and other initiatives. The UT works regionally, nationally and internationally with a focus by ITC on the global South. All these regions provide living labs settings for developing and experimenting with new technologies, methods and tools in real-world settings.

AT THE INTERSECTION OF URBAN AND RURAL AREAS

Special attention is given by UT scientists to so-called rurban areas – that is areas that were originally rural in character, but being located in the shadow of urban centres are experiencing an increasing level of urbanization as cities and towns spill over into the surrounding region. These areas have some of the services offered in urban centres but this is often inadequate, for example in the case of health care. Rurban areas will receive special attention in some resilience projects and other initiatives.

The resilience programme supports the university’s overall mission, Shaping2030, to contribute to the achievement of a digital, fair, and sustainable society by 2030.

THREE RESILIENCE THEMES

Fueled by the interests and expertise of our community, this UT programme is organized around three themes:

Within these three subprograms we:

The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Strengthening Resilience

All initiatives under the UTs resilience programme, drought resilience, safe society, and healthy communities, contribute in various ways to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.


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