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Resilience Engineering

Karin de Bruijn

I am an expert in the field of flood risk management and as such I would like to contribute to societies in flood-prone areas and increase their ability to cope with flood hazards now and in the future. I studied Hydrology in Wageningen, and I hold a PhD from Delft University of Technology, faculty of Civil Engineering. In my PhD, I operationalized the concept of resilience and applied it the on the lowland river systems of the Rhine, Meuse and Mekong Rivers. I have been working at Deltares for more than 15 years now both in research and consultancy projects. At Deltares, I act as project leader, and supervise Msc and PhD students.

Over time, countries are changing their flood risk management approach from a reactive approach to a proactive risk-based approach. Recently, it has become clear that also the risk-based approach has some flaws and that resilience thinking may contribute further to the mission of enabling societies to thrive in areas prone to floods and droughts. Especially in complex systems, such as cities with many challenges and stakeholders, a resilience approach adds to the existing approaches since it more explicitly applies whole system’s thinking, takes into account dynamics, all aspects of the disaster management cycle and requires including also beyond-design events, intangibles, and indirect effects such as those due to critical infrastructure disruption. We are currently operationalizing this resilience approach within Deltares. Furthermore, the implications of the resilience approach for our Dutch flood risk management strategy and the design of flood defences have my interest.

As a resilience fellow, I strive to closer link academic research with issues from practice. I will focus on using the resilience concept and ideas to improve the management of flood-prone areas by developing methods, tools and guidance and illustrate those together with scientists from the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering.