Alderman of the municipality of Vlissingen Geoffrey Sips, and Provincial Executive Harry van der Maas expressed a sense of pride for the ambitious plans for the DCC. Not only because it brings six parties (HZ, Scalda, WUR, UU, NIOZ and UCR) together in working on research and education in fields of water, food, and energy. But also because the DCC will be housed at the Kenniswerf in Vlissingen, strengthening its position as knowledge hub in the region.
Though all parties can be proud of the developments around the DCC, the real work starts now, stresses Scalda director Hendrik-Jan van Arenthals. “We need to make connections between partners, and find the added value within cooperation.” The DCC will tackle societal issues relevant for the region, which should not end at research. With an interdisciplinary approach of connecting Alpha, Beta and Gamma, and the combination of WO, HBO, and MBO, research and education will be secured in practice within organizations. This will ensure that projects within the DCC will not get bogged down in years of research, but will be applicable to real time problems in the field.
It is not just regional ambitions that are high. Food scarcity, rising sea levels, and shortage of clean drinking water are global issues. The DCC will work on complex problems, such as sustainable protein transition from seaweed, water retaining landscapes, and desalination of salt water. Knowledge created by the DCC, will be shared with the rest of the world, putting Zeeland on the map. To reach these ambitious goals, partners may need to make the hard choices about which paths to follow, says Edward Nieuwenhuis, Dean of University College Roosevelt. “We need to surpass individual goals and short term wins, in order to make the DCC the expertise center we believe it can be.”
The start of the DCC will also have a direct impact on the region. “On the short term, we will see a lot of new people coming to Vlissingen,” says van Arenthals. Students, researchers, teachers, and employees will all find a place at the Kenniswerf. The DCC is set to open its doors July 1st. As of next academic year, the first projects will start.