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Resilience Engineering
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Our working groups

The research agenda of the 4TU.DeSIRE programme covers six thematic working groups. They represent the focus areas along which our community is concentrated and form the backbone of the broader 4TU.RE Center's research agenda.

Click on each group to get more information. 

Thematic Working Groups:
Agri-food

Contact
Dr. G.A.K. (George) van Voorn
Biometris, Wageningen UR

Group members
People working on agri-food resilience topics within 4TU Resilience:

Focus
The Working Group on resilience for agri-food systems works on several Sustainable Development Goals and EU societal challenges, such as an affordable and sustainable food production for 9 Billion people by 2050, and the transition of the Dutch agri-food sector to a sustainable, circular system. Major questions we work on are:

  • How can the food sector(s) in the EU make a transition, and what should it transition into? How would a change of the food sector(s) in the EU affect other food production systems, e.g., in the Global South?

  • Can the resilience of food supply systems against climate change, shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic, and more, be improved without a loss of efficiency, e.g., through social capital?

  • How to quantify risks for different stakeholders, like farmers, banks, companies, and sectors, and what are ways of improving their resilience? What are credible, relevant, and stakeholder-inclusive metrics for quantifying the resilience and performance of food systems?

Key tasks
Key tasks of this Working Group are the development and application of quantitative methodologies for representing (elements of) agri-food systems and quantifying their resilience. In particular, we make common use of Dynamic Systems in combination with Agent Based Models for simulating food systems and food chains. ABMs allow for the explicit description of resilience-generating mechanisms in food systems, including mechanisms around the individual decision making of actors and their social behaviour and interactions. We collaborate with researchers from within and outside of 4TU (e.g., with the Working Group on supply chains led by Ahmadreza Marandi and the Uncertainty Group led by Wieke Pot), as well as with societal partners in consortia.

Thematic seminars
This working group has organized two seminars, of which the recordings and descriptions can be found in the respective news articles:

  • Assessing the resilience of food systems: from a conceptual framework to agent-based modelling by Hubert Fonteijn - Read more
  • Integrated modeling of extended agro-food supply chains: A systems approach by Firouzeh Taghikhah and¬†Redesigning watershed development to improve climate resilience of semiarid farming systems in India by Arjuna Srinidhi - Read more
Decision making for resilience

Contact
Dr. W.D. (Wieke) Pot
Social Sciences Group/Public Administration and Policy, Wageningen UR

Group members
People working on decision making topics within 4TU Resilience:

Focus
The working group on decision making under uncertainty for enhancing resilience focuses on understanding decision making processes and the use of decision support methods as well as on developing governance arrangements and decision-support methods that enable public and private sector actors to make decisions that enhance societal resilience.

Ambition
The working group is not domain specific and includes experts from the fields of water, agriculture, the urban environment, infrastructure, supply chain, and energy. The working group’s main aim is to discuss work in progress, both from the scientific field as well as from practitioners sharing specific cases, implemented methodologies and approaches, and innovations. The working group is highly transdisciplinary and researchers are encouraged to present both quantitative as well as qualitative work. Key concepts this working group works with are: uncertainty, decision making, adaptation, transformation, institutions, governance, modelling.

Besides forming a safe environment for discussing work in progress and sharing struggles, doubts, challenges, the working group’s second ambition is to form a networking platform and establish new connections. To do so, the working group also actively shares new job openings and calls for special issues and grant proposals.

Thematic seminars
This working group has organized one seminar, of which the recordings and descriptions can be found in the respective news articles:

  • Policy issue interdependency and collaboration in environmental governance by Johanna Hedlund and¬†An exploration of drivers of opinion dynamics by Els Weinans - Read more
Energy/ Cyber

Contact
Dr. Alexandru »ėtefanov
Delft University of Technology (TUD)

Group members
Mitrofan Curti
Laura Genga

Focus
The modern society relies on power grids to supply clean and sustainable electricity to millions of homes. The power grid is the backbone of smart cities. Power grids have been identified as a critical infrastructure for the modern society. Disruptions in the operational technology systems - because of cyber intrusions, increased latencies and communication failures - directly impact the power grid monitoring and control capabilities. Major power system disturbances, e.g. natural disasters, may lead to power system instability. Furthermore, cascading events can also be initiated by cyber attacks and multiple cyber-power component failures leading to a power system blackout. Without power, hospitals and other critical services are severely affected. A disruption of the cyber-physical energy system may lead to financial loss, damages, chaos or even a loss of lives.

Ambition
The goal of this Energy working group is to assess and improve the cyber security and resilience to cyber attacks and natural disasters of integrated cyber-physical energy systems. This research sets the mathematical and computational foundations and develops technologies that advance the field of resiliency and cyber security to protect interconnected power grids against major disturbances in a highly connected environment. It considers future developments in transmission and distribution systems, digitalization and cyber security threats. The objectives are to develop cyber-physical system models, computational methods and artificial intelligence-based tools to enhance the resilience of power grids to high-impact, low-frequency disturbances.

Thematic seminars

This working group has organized one seminar, of which the recordings and descriptions can be found in the respective news articles:

  • The role of grid components during energy transition by Dr. Timo Overboom, Connecting the Hydrogen energy storage to the existing grid by Dr. Levy Costa and¬†Keeping your options open in energy systems by Prof. dr. David Smeulders - Read more¬†
Transportation networks/ supply chain

Contact
Dr. A (Ahmadreza) Marandi
Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, TU Eindhoven.

Group members
People working on networked systems within 4TU Resilience:

Focus
The focus of this working group is to study the robustness and resilience of supply chains as well as transportation networks. In the past years, we have seen that disruptions, such as the COVID19 pandemic and Suez Canal blockage, had enormous negative financial and societal impacts. We have also seen analysis on how the disruption on one side of the network can propagate in the whole network.

In this working group, we investigate how we can use different available techniques or develop new ones to assess the robustness and resilience of networks, and (re)design a more robust and resilient supply chain and transportation network.

Ambition
We have a high ambition in this working group: ‚Äúmaking the networks more resilient‚ÄĚ. We are currently forming different projects focusing on different classes of supply chain and transportation networks. For instance, we are currently working on spare-part supply chains, food supply chains, interconnected transportation networks, and more. By forming teams with diverse backgrounds, we would like to conduct interdisciplinary research with practical values.

We always welcome new members and ideas. So, if you are interested to know more about this group, the topics we are working on and the ideas we have, or you have an idea or problems that can be investigated by us, let us know. 

Thematic seminars

This working group has organized one seminar, of which the recordings and descriptions can be found in the respective news articles:

  • Evaluating the vulnerability of infrastructure systems and their role in food distribution during disasters by Hiba Baroud and¬†A scalable approach for intervention planning of complex interconnected systems by Omar Kammouh - Read more
Urban

Contact
Dr. C. (Claudiu) Forgaci
Delft University of Technology (TUD)

Dr. J.P. (Jo√£o Pedro) Cortes√£o
Wageningen University and Research (WUR)

Group members

Focus
The Working Group on Urban Resilience is an interdisciplinary group of researchers committed to creating impact for resilience in urban areas through the design of physical systems as well as of multi-actor or participatory processes. The group covers a wide range of concerns related to endowing urban areas with the capacity to cope with the challenges of climate change, urban transformation, environmental quality, spatial quality, build governance and institutions, identity, equality/justice, and urban-rural spatial relationships in an integrated way. The group aims at deepening knowledge on urban resilience through theorizing, measuring and designing. We use a social-technical-environmental (STE) systems approach, linking the physical/spatial and socio-economic dimensions of the built environment and creating impact through the reshaping of urban areas and relations towards resilience.

Key questions addressed by the group are:

  • How to prompt and guide action towards the climate resilience of urban areas?
  • How to understand and guide long-term urban transformation in a transdisciplinary way?
  • How to integrate knowledge, interests, and interventions across urban systems to achieve urban resilience?
  • How to translate systemic resilience targets into concrete spatial measures?
  • How to accommodate technological innovations designed to make the city more resilient overall, without compromising the city‚Äôs ability to recover quickly from disruptions?
  • How to link planning and policy toward resilience with considerations from ethics and justice regarding urban dwellers?

Key tasks
Key tasks of this Working Group are the development and application of theory and solutions for urban resilience in a practice-oriented way. To that end, we make use of fundamental, action-based, and applied research methods that can capture the complexity of real-world resilience challenges. We employ quantitative and qualitative methods such as design-driven research, serious gaming, modelling and simulation. We have a wide experience with cross-sector cooperation within and outside of 4TU and we are open to opportunities that will extend our network, from the organization of informal knowledge-sharing events, to writing grant proposals. Please do get in touch!

Projects

  • WUR is collaborating with TUD, the municipality of Breda and several organizations for nature-based solutions in the project GreenQuays. This is an ongoing design-driven research project around small urban water bodies at the intersection of research and practice, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovation Actions Initiative.

  • Members at TUD are contributing to the Resilient Delta Initiative, one of several convergence engagements between TUD, Erasmus U and Erasmus MC driving resilience related research in the Rotterdam delta region. Projects include the SPRING proposal targeting social resilience in Rotterdam South and the development of the initiative‚Äôs methodology pillar.

Thematic seminars

This working group has organized one seminar, of which the recordings and descriptions can be found in the respective news articles:

  • Climate-adaptive streetscapes in Unplanned Urban Areas in Desert Climates by Aynaz Lotfata and¬†Transforming Leftover Spaces into Resilient Urban Landscapes by Maryam Naghibi - Read more
Water

Contact
Dr. Juan Pablo Aguilar-López
Delft University of Technology (TUD)

Group members

Focus
The Resilience Water working group aims to tackle some of the new arising climate change challenges for water systems derived from environmental shocks and stresses, such as the climate-induced increase in duration and frequency of extreme droughts, sea level rise and floods. It has been already observed that the actual water supply and flood defence systems will eventually require more holistic solutions in terms of absorption, adaptation and recovery, as most of the previously implemented solutions were developed as isolated measures, disregarding the possible impacts in other areas of urban, rural and socio-economic development. It is also clear that the feedbacks between these shocks and socio-economic and governance systems need to be considered.

Ambition
Urban systems and their complexity are mostly determined by the urban planning strategies, infrastructure reliability, socio economic choice, policies and management strategies. Floods, droughts, water systems and the links with energy and urban systems are being studied by the DeSIRE Water working group, with the aim of creating synergetic solutions from a multidisciplinary standpoint. This is done to develop new methods to characterize and ensure resilience of water systems also in view of climate change and other future developments.  

Main challenges                                 

  • The development of engineering sustainable solutions where urban planning, design and governance adapt to future water stresses derived from climate and macroeconomic uncertainty.
  • Integral modelling and planning of urban and societal systems where engineering, spatial planning, decision making, governance and adaptation measures can be studied coherently.
  • Policy and decision making for governance of water related systems based on multi-actor analysis, co-creation, use of decision-support methods, citizen science and stakeholder involvement for climate resilient deltas and smart cities.¬†¬†¬†
  • Development of innovative and smart water supply and flood defence systems that are resilient to both flood and drought.
  • Development of resilience quantification measures for evaluating water related systems performance based on inter-disciplinary functionality definitions.
  • Monitoring, management, and governance of aging infrastructure for more robust decision making for climate adaptation.¬†¬†
  • Spatial economic and agent-based modeling for dynamic risk and resilience assessment, households' surveys on flood risk perception and property-level adaptation measures, climate resilience of firms in flood-prone¬†regions.¬† ¬†¬†

Thematic seminars

This working group has organized one seminar, of which the recordings and descriptions can be found in the respective news articles:

  • Resilience examples from water and sanitation for refugees in humanitarian contexts by Juliette Cortes Arevalo - Read more


We are always looking for more opportunities. We cordially invite you to discuss topics with us around our core themes in relation to resilience, and to explore further collaboration or funding opportunities.