Wietse van de Lageweg
Researcher and Team lead Building with Nature Research Group
‘Understanding the development of deltas from different angles’
I am an earth scientist with primary interests in river systems, estuarine systems and coastal systems. These environments are characterised by constantly changing patterns in flow transport and sediment transport and complex interactions with the vegetation and animals.
I use different approaches that help students understand how deltas develop. We discuss waves, tides, but also sea level rise and vegetation. There are thousands of deltas worldwide and not one is identical. Their formation is slow and takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. We study natural systems, but to gain insight into developments, we also bring the delta into the classroom. With gutter experiments and virtual models, we observe how these environments can influence society. My background is mainly scientific. I obtained a PhD at Utrecht University in 2013. My promotion project focused on the morpho dynamics and sedimentary architecture of meandering and braided rivers. After that I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hull (UK) and as a coastal morphology expert at a hydraulic engineering laboratory in Belgium.
Because coastal defence and climate adaptation will have such a big impact on future generations, I think it is important to work with the current generation. Many of the projects on which the HZ Building with Nature research group is working concern shaping the Southwest Delta for future generations. The input of young people is essential for this. They often have new, innovative views of the situation. In this way, the interaction between education and research offers added value to students, lecturers and the society at large.