The University of Twente will launch its UT Climate Centre during the Dies Natalis on Friday, 12 May. The centre will play a major role in the university's ambitions in education, research and valorisation for climate issues.
Climate change is one of the most urgent and wicked challenges of the 21st century. Concerted research and education play an important role in finding solutions. Human action has put the system earth under unprecedented pressure, with irreversible consequences that we are already witnessing. A societal transition, including technical and geophysical knowledge and innovation, is required to prevent the most dangerous climate change impacts from taking place.
"Universities like ours can play an important role by actively focusing on climate change and can offer a unique and converging lens through which to focus on these challenges", says university professor Albert van den Berg, one of the initiators of the UT Climate Centre. To take powerful steps, UT will invest 10 million euros in climate-related research and education over the next five years.
Recently, students and staff have become more and more vocal about the urgency of the climate crisis and want themselves and their university to more clearly contribute to climate solutions through concerted actions, as well as knowledge and expertise development. They want to be part of a university committed to taming the climate crisis. Albert: "We would like to build on this motivation and capacity to address climate challenges successfully."
The UT Climate Centre emerged from a university-wide initiative aimed to identify, in a bottom-up process, how the UT could further embed sustainability into the organisation. In addition to Albert, the team to build the cross-faculty Climate Centre is formed with Freek van der Meer, the dean of the UT's Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation ITC, Cheryl de Boer and Miriam Luizink. Their first task is to create an impact plan with the UT community and external stakeholders to shape the centre's ambitions further. This includes focusing on relevant challenges and how to generate as much societal impact as possible.
Albert: "A lot of great initiatives are happening at UT on climate change. Currently, this is still quite fragmented by all faculties. Bringing all the knowledge, energy, and capacity together will help increase our clout." The centre should also become a hub for connecting with other relevant national and international initiatives.