Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

AUAS professor Jeroen Kluck wins IXA Impact Award 2021

‘Climate adaptation in cities is crucial’

28 Oct 2021 09:19 | Centre for Applied Research Technology

Flooded streets, basements full of water and people getting ill or even dying during heatwaves. The Netherlands is already experiencing the consequences of climate change. Jeroen Kluck, Professor of Water in and around the City at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), investigates how cities can be designed in such a way that the damage caused is minimised. On 9 November, the researcher will receive the IXA Impact Award 2021 for his work.

Kluck was pleasantly surprised when a representative of IXA – the Knowledge Transfer Office of AUAS, UvA, VU and Amsterdam UMC – called him with the good news at the end of October. ‘I didn’t even know I had been put forward for the award,’ he laughs. Jeroen van der Kuur (research coordinator Urban Tech at AUAS), Marcel Kloosterman (Team Leader Research Grant Advice Team at IXA) and Pieter Wybenga (Advisor Research Funding & Business Developer at IXA) thought it was high time this civil engineer received some recognition for the impressive oeuvre he has built up.

Climate adaptation in cities

Kluck, Professor of Water in and around the City at AUAS, has been carrying out research into climate adaptation in cities since 2008. Among his discoveries is how to prevent streets flooding following heavy rainfall – ‘the streets have to be lower, the sidewalks higher’ – and calculated that climate-proofing streets is economically feasible when done as part of a redesign project. He has also studied the effect of water and greenery on temperature, and other factors that contribute to the liveability and biodiversity of cities. In recent years, he has focused principally on the effects of heat, as this is having the greatest impact. His research offers local authorities concrete guidance in the redevelopment of cities. ‘If we take every instance of redesign to implement climate adaptation, we can make all of the Netherlands climate-proof within thirty years,’ he says.

KNMI Climate Signal

And this is absolutely essential: our climate is changing more and more quickly, according to the Klimaatsignaal [in Dutch, Climate Signal] issued by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) on 25 October 2021. In this country, this means we will experience a greater than expected rise in sea level, long periods of drought and heat and more extreme summer storms. The KNMI bases its report on the latest IPCC report, from August, and its own research.

‘I hope that we can now finally put an end to climate change and all make the transition to sustainable energy,’ Kluck says. ‘We can do lots of things to climate-proof cities, but it will not be possible to eliminate all of the consequences. It’s a waste of effort to try to mop up while the taps are still wide open.’

IXA Impact Award

Kluck will receive the Impact Award on 9 November 2021 in the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam. The award will be presented by Bart Klijsen, director of IXA VU-VUmc. IXA is the Knowledge Transfer Office of AUAS, UvA, VU and Amsterdam UMC; a department within the knowledge institutes supporting researchers in bringing their knowledge and research to society.

The Impact Award is being presented for the third time. In addition to Kluck, Halleh Ghorashi (who does research into refugees and diversity at VU Amsterdam) and Hergen Spits (who carries out research into B-cells, cells in the body that create antibodies, at Amsterdam UMC) will also receive the award. The impact of the research is assessed on the basis of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Update: 9 November 2021

Please see the video below following the awards ceremony

Interview with Impact Award winner - category Environment & Climate: Jeroen Kluck (in Dutch with English subtitles).