Krijn Poppe M. Sc. (WUR)
Resilience engineering provides us with a good framework through which we can look at questions which are important both for our university and for the world beyond. How do we feed the growing world population in a safe way and without depleting the planet of its resources? How do we do this despite a changing climate? And can we create systems which are intrinsically resilient so that they can continue to adapt to a changing world and still be suitable a hundred years from now? Sustainability has been a key research topic for many years. It is very important but it also implies a certain rigidity, whereas resilience is a more dynamic concept which has this inherent transformative quality. Change is natural and, if managed well, contributes to resilience of the food system.
In my research I look at systems of both livestock and crop farming. Within livestock farming, I study the origin of the current surplus of manure from pig farms in a region in the South of the Netherlands. How did this surplus emerge? And how can we adjust the practice to mitigate problems with particulates, ammonia, manure and bad smell? In crop farming we look at enhancing the resilience of food systems by the use of robots working the land as they can be a lot lighter than vehicles that carry humans. This reduces the impact on the soil. Furthermore, we study resilience through companion planting, where we plant different crops within the same plot to enhance resistance against diseases and to have plants that benefit from each other’s ecological properties.
My hope for the Centre is that the integration of different disciplines will result in innovative research. One example of what I would be interested in would be cooperation with the field of robotics for our crop farming questions. As a scientist in the second half of his career, I think my contribution to this mutual inspiration should be to carefully consider research questions, helping shape the direction of research. The actual studies should be performed by the next generation of creative young research talent.
If you want to know more about my research, have a look at my LinkedIn.