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Resilience Engineering

Neelke Doorn

My name is Neelke Doorn and I am professor Ethics of Water Engineering at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology. I have a background in civil engineering (TU Delft), philosophy (Leiden University) and law (Open University). In my research, resilience plays an important role. I am currently leading an NWO Vidi-project on responsibility arrangements in resilience policy for climate adaptation, in which we look at the impact of a ‘resilience approach’ to climate adaptation on social justice. To give just an example, it is often expected that people take responsibility for climate adaptation in their neighborhood, but not everyone is able to take this responsibility. Doesn’t this lead to great inequalities between affluent neighborhoods with relatively well-organized people and neighborhoods that lack the social capital. In this project, I combine social science and philosophical approaches with agent-based modelling.

I expect that resilience will become an increasingly important paradigm for thinking about society and many of today’s societal challenges (climate change, humanitarian crises, pandemic diseases). While these challenges may be seemingly different, they all require us to rethink how we address them. We cannot just go back to the situation that created these crises in the first place. The 4TU.Resilience Engineering Centre is important as it provides us with the opportunity to collaborate and combine the relevant resilience expertise at all four technical universities in the Netherlands and, as such, create synergies. The two international conferences organized in 2019 and 2020 already showed the unique potential of and expertise available in the Centre.

In addition to doing research on resilience, I am also the faculty’s Director of Education, and I see ample opportunities to strengthen our education on resilience. Given the many societal challenges we currently face, resilience thinking will benefit our student in their future engineering career. The 4TU.Resilience Engineering Centre can also play an important role here.