At 13 february peers and partners of Leiden-Delft-Erasmus gathered in Delft for the first network event. They came to meet the new Chair LDE prof. Wim van den Doel and to hear about the ambitions and plans of the LDE alliance .
Prof. Tim van der Hagen, Chair of the LDE steering board and President of Delft University of Technology, kicked off the event with a speech about the future of universities coping with climate change, rising costs of health care and the emerging digital society:
'If anything has become abundantly clear in recent years, it is the tenacity of problems like climate change, rising costs of health care and de emerging digital society, and the increasing urgency to do something about them. That applies to us and our region, but also to the rest of the world.'
'At the same time, we are witnessing a further development in parallel to our great collaboration: a shift in the way academia views these complex, interrelated challenges. Increasingly, this is no longer done by academic fields that operate alongside each other – multidisciplinarity as it is called – but more and more fused together, as it were, which makes it possible for new areas of knowledge or disciplines, or however else you would like to call it, to arise.'
'That is what we call convergence: the integration of technology, the natural sciences, computer science, the biological sciences and the humanities in order to accelerate research and achieve ground-breaking results.'
Next to it newly Chair LDE, prof. Wim van den Doel, gave his maiden speech for the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus community. He pinpointed the need for scientific collaboration and so called game changing research and education to solve societal problems:
'Let us briefly jog our memories again: in 2100, the world population will peak at 10.9 billion – that is 3.2 billion more people than there are now, about 4 times the entire population of Europe. All of these people are going to consume, use energy, live in massive mega-cities and sometimes migrate to other places on the planet. If we just consider what the impact will be on the world if these people go about their business as we do today, then we know it is going to end badly.'
'We can also project the problem to our region. The Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics predicts that the Dutch population will continue to increase, reaching almost 19.6 million inhabitants by 2060. An important percentage of this growth will be the result of migration. In 2040, there will be twice the number of people over the age of 80 than there are today.'
'Essentially, the region of South Holland is facing the same challenges as the world: we have to ensure that our cities remain liveable; our society has to remain inclusive; the economy has to become circular; energy has to be generated and delivered without carbon emissions; we have to adapt to climate change; and related to all of that, we have to give new technologies their place in society. Scientific breakthroughs are necessary to achieve all of these goals. Working on this is not a luxury, but an absolute necessity. Our key social issues are urgent! That is why we have joined forces in LDE.'
Find Van den Doel's full speech in the attachement below.