A € 68 million governmental compensation package will be used to create the Delta Knowledge Center at the Kenniswerf in Vlissingen. Here, University College Roosevelt together with Scalda and HZ University of Applied Sciences will collaborate with Utrecht University and Wageningen University & Research to strengthen Zeeland’s position as a knowledge region in the fields of water, food, and energy. The investment is broadly supported and widely expected to sure up the local economy and quality of life – bringing about a positive effect on the socio-economic and business climate, as well as employment in Zeeland. Over the next few months, detailed plans will be made available in the ‘quartermaster phase’.
The Knowledge Center will give substance to the social task: “Living and working in the Delta: climate adaptation through natural solutions”. The aim is to realize innovative solutions for a future-proof, safe and prosperous Delta. Solutions that are, of course, not only interesting for the Dutch delta, but can also be applied outside national borders.
The knowledge center will be characterized by:
- A unique combination of research and education in the fields of water, food, and energy;
- The conviction that the different knowledge areas (alpha, gamma, beta) have to be combined: biological, technical, chemical, ecological, socio-economic, legal, cultural and political-administrative; and
- The integration of different types of research (from fundamental to practice-oriented) and its translation into question and problem-based education (MBO, HBO and WO).
Zeeland as a knowledge region will also offer new perspectives for young people within and outside the region. For example, the establishment of the institute should increase the influx of (inter)national MBO, HBO and WO students into existing or new study programmes. With the arrival of the institute – it is expected – 200 additional (inter)national MBO and HBO students will join each year, who will study and live in Zeeland for two to four years.
Young talent will therefore be more inclined to continue living and working in Zeeland after their graduation. The province also wants to become more attractive to research university students. For example, students from Utrecht and Wageningen could graduate in Zeeland in living labs in which the business community also participates.
The Delta Knowledge Center will ALSO generate new jobs at the knowledge center itself and at the various research and educational institutions. Companies, existing and new, will be able to actively collaborate in the project. And with new employment opportunities come new people, new skills and new insights – all which can play an important role in Zeeland’s corporate and social spheres. It is estimated that the additional employment would increase to approximately 140 FTEs in 2032.
The headquarters, research lab facilities, the development-, test- and demo facilities and business development will be located at the Kenniswerf in Vlissingen (where the Technum and Dockwize’s skills labs are located). Activities will also take place in other parts of Zeeland, such as at the NIOZ in Yerseke, the Joint Research Center Zeeland in Middelburg and the Rusthoeve experimental farm in Colijnsplaat.
The total contribution to the Delta Knowledge Center from the compensation resources amounts to over € 68 million. This is almost half of the total required investment for the center in the start-up period. The remaining half will be financed by participating educational and knowledge institutions, the province of Zeeland, companies and NGOs.