Could you explain your work as a Gluon Researcher?
My role is to fight knowledge fragmentation because this fragmentation of knowledge hinders decisions. This is especially true for complex problems like sustainability. Imagine a carpet made up of all different kinds of threads. Some threads are thick, have different colors or are even made from different fabrics. Different kinds of knowledge and disciplines are all different kinds of threads; as a Gluon, you try to weave it all together to create a clear pattern: a “tapestry of knowledge”.
I work for the Red&Blue project which deals with how the Netherlands is going to live with rising sea water levels in the future. It is a complex issue involving many different disciplines. It is actually a very practical question, what should we do? My role is to ensure that a process is in place that allows those different disciplines to answer that big question together.
As a trailblazer, how would you say the Gluon role differs from more traditional academic research roles?
I think the uncertainty about the novelty of the role. It’s like when you order insulation material for a house. You need a certain quantity for which you have set aside a budget. You want assurance that you are getting the best product. Would you choose insulation material that is only just on the market? A traditional academic role is familiar, people know what to expect and where they stand. But I am convinced that this new approach can make a difference. I’d say “choose something new”!