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People in the picture: Tina Comes

An interview with Tina Comes, Associate Professor in Designing Resilience and Scientific Co-Director of the 4TU RE (Newsletter December 2019)

People in the picture: Tina Comes

We want students to navigate into resilience

“It would be great if in a couple of years Resilience Engineering (RE) is embedded in the 4TU educational programs. There is already a great demand from practice for engineers with good understanding of RE challenges. And this demand is only growing”, according to Tina Comes. She is Associate Professor in Designing Resilience and Scientific Co-Director of the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering. “We really want to connect research and education.”

Sense making and decision support
Tina is originally from Germany. She grew up in a small, quite romantic white village on the Moselle river near Koblenz. She moved around a lot: did her studies in France, went to Norway for her work, stayed in Boston for a sabbatical and finally came to the Netherlands. For 2,5 years now, she lives near Delft, where she also works at the university. Tina’s work is rooted in decision analysis and aims at designing resilient societies. Especially the informational aspects of resilience have her interest: she wants to understand what role information plays in sense making, coordination and decision-making. From this understanding, she develops models and tools to support information sharing, analysis and decision-making. Her work has been successfully used in areas ranging from critical infrastructure and industrial resilience to supply chain risk management and humanitarian logistics.  

Create a shared view
Tina has been involved from the early days of the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering (4TU RE). 4TU RE is based on a broad view of Resilience Engineering. Tina: “We don’t only incorporate engineering, but look at the resilience of the full social-technical-environmental system. A lot of people think within their own discipline or sector. But as our societies are increasingly interconnected, we need a joint view on what the concept of resilience means and how it can be embedded in different systems. It is important to connect our ways of thinking. We have to understand each other. Therefore, community building across disciplines is such an important feature for 4TU RE. Only if we have a shared view, we can shape this interdisciplinary work.”

To realize a shared view on Resilience Engineering the 4TU RE research centre wants to connect research and education. “Researchers talk a lot about impact, but we have the greatest impact by educating students; by introducing new ideas to them. Therefore, educational programs are a necessary part of our 4TU RE centre,” according to Tina.

Embedded in all 4TU programs
4TU RE just started a new project which aims to develop, publish and use Open Educational Resources (OER) on Urban Resilience. The Centre wants to consistently include resilience thinking in the many different programs and courses across the four Dutch universities of technology.

“Resilience thinking should be embedded in all 4TU programs within a couple of years. We want to educate engineers to understand RE challenges, both from an engineering and a social point of view. As Mark Twain once put it: The secret of getting ahead, is getting started. We really have big plans, but lets start within our circle of influence. And from there, build a community.”

By the end of February 2020, the first education materials concerning Urban Resilience will be available via the 4TU RE website. “From theoretical modules, case studies to games and simulation, all will be prepared. Please have a look at that time and spread the word!”

About Tina Comes

Tina Comes is Associate Professor and Delft Technology Fellow on Designing Resilience. Furthermore, she takes on the following roles:

  • Full Professor ICT at the University of Agder, Norway
  • Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Visiting Professor at Université Dauphine in Paris
  • Principle Investigator on Climate Resilience at the Advanced Metropolitan Solutions Institut
  • Member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences
  • Scientific Co-Director of the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering
  • Project leader of 4TU RE Open Education Resources project