Research Theme: Delta System

The Resilient Delta scientific programme focuses on addressing key challenges surrounding the big transitions that affect the delta, including transitions related to climate, energy, the economy, mobility, demography and inclusivity. The Rotterdam area is a delta where many infrastructural, socio-economic and behavioural challenges come together. In order to foster sustainable growth of and within the delta as a system, decisions need to be made rapidly, while being based on highly uncertain information, despite their long-term impact. Key uncertainties relate to: How quickly will the climate change? How will people adapt their behaviour to a changing climate? How will temperature rise affect the spread of new pathogens? What will the impact of the energy transition be on the demands on the energy infrastructure and on citizens’ lives, in terms of liveability, the (regional) economy and entrepreneurship? How can we prevent the most vulnerable among us being left behind by technological change? And how will changes in one system influence others in a tightly interwoven social and economic network?

The knowledge acquired within the Delta System theme – from the social sciences and the humanities (systems analysis, the regional economy and human behaviour) to engineering, design and technology (systems analysis, climate, infrastructure for flood risk and water management, energy, mobility, landscape and the built environment) and medical and life sciences (infectious diseases and a healthy living environment) – will help us to better understand the problems of the delta and to enhance resilience by developing long-term solutions. To support this, we will build a Digital Twin of the Rotterdam Delta, an innovative and high-tech digital model developed for analyses and planning.