Living in the delta
TU Delft and WRU have already been collaborating in the field of water management and hydraulic engineering for almost 15 years. The challenges that Vietnam faces are comparable to those of the Netherlands. The country has thousands of kilometres of coastline and a large part of the population, agriculture and industry is concentrated in the complex deltas of the Mekong and the Red River. As a result of changing circumstances such as sea-level rise, longer rainy seasons and frequent tropical storms, the country is in need of vision, expertise and new solutions to enable it to meet future water challenges. Vietnam is interested in the way in which the Netherlands makes living in the delta possible. Together with Dutch engineering firms, TU Delft advises the government on better infrastructures and works with various universities on building expertise.
VINWATER will be a ‘Science and Technology Centre’, located in Hanoi. Professor of Coastal Engineering Marcel Stive says: “I am proud that our partnership has now become so mature that we will be truly collaborating on an equal footing. Establishing this centre is the logical next step in our long partnership.” In VINWATER, WRU and TU Delft aim to make their expertise available to third parties, including the Vietnamese government. In doing so, VINWATER will be responding to a need in the Vietnamese market for application-oriented research and advice. VINWATER will bring in Vietnamese researchers from WRU, who will be supervised and advised from Delft. Many of the researchers received their MSc or PhD degrees from TU Delft. VINWATER will provide them with interesting scientific jobs. In addition, the university staff will offer the opportunity to gain practical experience and introduce it into the domain of education in the form of case studies.
TU Delft will also play a role in the combination of knowledge and the further development of the existing relationships between WRU and the Dutch business community. The ability to call upon local capacity and expertise is important for Dutch hydraulic engineering firms. Although the purpose of VINWATER is not to make a profit, it is seeking financial independence within five years.
The signing will take place during Minister Schultz van Haegen’s visit to Vietnam. In Hanoi, the Minister will present the Mekong Delta Plan to the Vice-Premier of Vietnam, Hoang Trung Hai. The plan was compiled by a team of Dutch water experts, coordinated by Cees Veerman, special advisor to the Vietnamese Prime Minister Dung. Veerman is a former president of the Commission on Sustainable Coastal Development and a former Dutch Minister of Agriculture.
A presence where it matters
VINWATER will be the seventh joint research institute that TU Delft has developed with partners abroad. The President of the Executive Board of TU Delft, Dirk Jan van den Berg, is enthusiastic about VINWATER: “Vietnam is developing rapidly. It has a major need for expertise, and it is greatly expanding its budget for cooperation with foreign partners in the areas of education and research. It is a very interesting country for TU Delft, with its strong expertise in the area of water management. The developments there are exciting for our researchers and students. It is important to be present in Vietnam and to realise an activity of our university, as we are now doing in several countries.”