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Meet guest researcher Sierd de Vries

Sierd de Vries. Photo.

Sierd de Vries is an associate professor at the department of Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University (Netherlands), and will be working as a guest researcher with the Theme Coastal Perspectives.

What is your background and research interests?

I work on the creation of sustainable coastal landscapes. With my background in coastal engineering and coastal sciences, I study how Nature Based Solutions can contribute to the sustainable development of coastal landscapes in view of changing climates and anthropogenic pressures. I specialize in engineering for dynamic coastal dune landscapes. Coastal landscapes are precious because they provide vital functions to society such as coastal safety, ecological habitat, recreation and fresh water resources. The coastal dune landscape in Europe and beyond is shaped by drivers that consist of the movement of coastal sediments due to the forcing of wind, waves and tides but also by the growth of vegetation. In my academic work, I integrate eco-physical developments of coastal landscapes driven by natural forces and human interventions. This is challenging because non-linear feedbacks exist between these drivers which makes the development of the landscape and its associated functions difficult to predict. I address this difficulty by combining knowledge in numerical models that can predict (and forecast) coastal landscape development in service of decision making for design and maintenance of coastal adaptation strategies.

What are your plans as a guest researcher at the institute?

At the institute I plan to meet with new international colleagues related to topics that cover the full width of the important Theme of Coastal Perspectives. I am excited to contribute to the international coastal research network that includes a wide range of disciplines that is defined by the theme’s organizers. Also, I would like to explore the Swedish coastal environment and get familiar with the coastal settings, conditions and communities.

How do you hope to benefit from your work with the Theme?

I think the Theme of Coastal Perspectives and the six subthemes are defined in a very complementary way. I hope to benefit myself by broadening my view on the theme from different topical angles and learn from inspiring new colleagues. Especially the more societal subthemes (memory cultures and communication) are new to me and they inspire me. I look forward to be introduced to them and exchange and challenge new thoughts with fellow academics. I am confident this will lead to new ideas and collaborations.

I hope to benefit myself by broadening my view on the theme from different topical angles and learn from inspiring new colleagues.

What do you reckon your main contribution to the Theme will be?

With my background in coastal engineering in the Netherlands, I have experience with many large interventions in the Netherlands. I expect I will mostly be contributing material and thoughts to the ‘Data and Evidence’ and ‘Timescales’ subthemes. Especially my modelling work can inspire interdisciplinary discussions on climate change adaptation strategies for European coastal landscapes. Also, in my position as educational track coordinator at Delft University of Technology, I am interested in contributing to thoughts on Master’s programs for coastal studies in European context.