Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Amsterdam Water Science consortium receives AAA funding

20 January 2015

The Amsterdam Water Science consortium has received start-up capital from the Amsterdam Academic Alliance (AAA). These funds will give VU University Amsterdam (Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences) and the University of Amsterdam (Faculty of Science, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics) the opportunity to develop a coherent research and degree programme in collaboration with research institutions, government agencies and businesses in the Amsterdam area.

From river to ocean

Amsterdam Water Science is a unique programme focusing on water sciences in the Netherlands. It integrates research from more than 110 full-time researchers at VU University Amsterdam (VU) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) who work on the biological, chemical and physical processes in water systems (marine life, water quality, flooding and droughts). One of the topics of interest in this research programme is how extremes influence the community and what measures government and the private sector can take in order to manage the quality of water, flood risks and water shortages.

Natural and social sciences

The programme combines natural sciences such as aquatic ecology, oceanography, ecohydrology and meteorology with social sciences such as water economics and water governance. Research currently takes place across a wide range of international research projects in collaboration with leading universities in Europe, Japan and the USA, and is funded through 14 major research grants (ERC and NWO Vici, Vidi & Veni).

Amsterdam: testing ground for research and education

Amsterdam Water Science's philosophy is to interweave research projects with degree programmes and to initiate research together with stakeholders in the Amsterdam region. The city of Amsterdam and its water-rich surrounding areas will serve as a testing ground for research and education. The programme has access to a number of state-of-the-art laboratories and measurement programs that use sensors in satellites and drones, and participates in a variety of Bachelor's and Master's programmes in biology, earth sciences and water sciences. The investment in sustainable collaboration with institutions in the Amsterdam region will also enhance students' career prospects.    

Three core tasks

Amsterdam Water Science revolves around three core activities:

  1. Investment in research into CO2 management and algae growth in the IJsselmeer region and into trends in climate extremes (droughts and flooding) in the city of Amsterdam.
  2. Reinforcement of existing Bachelor's and Master's programmes and development of new degree programmes to train a new generation of water scientists and help them navigate the complex web of water processes and social issues.
  3. An investment programme incorporating six to eight pilot projects in which researchers and end users in Amsterdam develop long-term collaborative water research with clear questions and end products. Examples include developing methods for ensuring water quality for the drinking-water sector and fishing industry, and estimating water damage caused by extreme weather for municipal authorities and insurers.

About the Amsterdam Academic Alliance

The Amsterdam Academic Alliance (AAA) is a joint initiative of the two Amsterdam-based universities – VU and the UvA – aimed at intensifying collaboration with each other and with other knowledge institutions in the region. The objective of the AAA is to cement Amsterdam's position as a major international player and hub of academic excellence. The alliance is to result in different outcomes in each scientific field.

Published by  Faculty of Science