As of now, Debra Roberts will fulfill the role of part-time professor (0.2 FTE) at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science at the University of Twente. Roberts will hold the new Professor Willem Schermerhorn Chair, funded by the ITC Foundation. This chair, which is named after ITC’s founder, is about Open Science from a Majority World Perspective. Roberts will take on this role for the next four years.
‘I am very pleased and excited about this upcoming role at the Faculty of ITC and the University of Twente. My main focus will be helping to create bridges between the worlds of research and practice and enabling a two-way flow of knowledge between scientists and decision-makers. By building skills and knowledge together, we can bend the curve on crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and injustice and inequity in the Majority World. If you transform the majority of the world, you save the planet.
Debra Roberts (1961) can be described in many ways. Roberts is known for her excellent scientific work in the field of climate risk management, her leadership in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and for linking global climate risks to local realities, putting people first. ‘Debra Roberts is not only a fantastic scientist, but she is someone who really bridges science, policy and practice’, according to Maarten van Aalst. Her pioneering work has helped reduce vulnerability in human and natural communities, enhanced local level sustainability and resilience, created socioeconomic development opportunities and driven institutional change.
‘You could say I’m a very practical scientist, I use science to make day-to-day decisions about the present and the future of an African city’, Roberts said earlier in an interview with U-Today. ‘I am also involved globally in the world of science assessment, most recently through my work at IPCC. I am a scientist working in a variety of different spaces, trying to improve […] the cities we live in.’
Debra Roberts was admitted to the degree of doctor honoris causa at the Dies Natalis 2022 of the University of Twente. Prof. Maarten van Aalst and others shed their light on Debra and her impactful work in the video below.
‘I am looking forward to engaging with the faculty and with students at the University of Twente, sharing my more than 30 years of knowledge gained from working in an African city on issues such as climate change, biodiversity and sustainability and resilience’, says Robert about her new role at ITC. ‘I am also excited to learn about how that knowledge can contribute to the research and teaching being done the University and how that research in turn can help in tacking real problems on the ground in the Majority World.’