The "Jonge Waddenacademie" also represents the next step in the plan of the Waddenacademie to rejuvenate research on the Wadden Sea. Thanks to its efforts, many dozens of young researchers – ranging from ecologists, economists, and public administration specialists to historians, geophysicists and so on – are now involved in Wadden-related research. The Waddenacademie believes that it is important for disciplines to work together now. New scientific breakthroughs must encourage and guarantee that we preserve and properly manage the Wadden Sea as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The five members are, in alphabetical order:
Dr Bas Borsje, University of Twente
Bas has an MSc in Civil Engineering (cum laude) and a PhD for his research at the interface of ecology and sediment transport (cum laude). He has also received a prestigious VENI grant for designing nature-friendly floodplains as an innovative coastal defence measure. Bas combines three jobs: he is an assistant professor at the University of Twente, a researcher at Deltares, and an expert at Boskalis. Right now he is involved in innovative dike reinforcement projects along the Frisian coast (POV Waddenzeedijken) and in planned mega sand suppletion measures in the outer delta of the Wadden Islands (Kustgenese2). As an expert in hydraulics and climate change, he is working closely on these projects with ecologists, policymakers, physical geographers and dozens of users, site managers and interest groups.
Dr Eelke Folmer, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
After studying biology and majoring in ecology, Eelke did his PhD research at the University of Groningen in the Animal Ecology group. His research concerned the behavioural ecology of shorebirds in the Wadden Sea, the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, and in Roebuck Bay, Australia. After he received his PhD, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher for the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and as an independent researcher with Ecospace. Eelke conducts both basic and applied research on current ecological problems in the Wadden Sea. He combines fieldwork with mathematical, statistical and GIS methods and collaborates with scientists in other disciplines.
Dr Stefan Hartman, Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Stefan recently completed his PhD in spatial planning and environment. In his research, he studies the tension between preserving and developing the environment and the quest for balance and synergy. In terms of theory, he is interested in how we can build the adaptive capacity and resilience of socio-ecological systems. As a senior researcher for the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), Stefan is involved in various projects in the Wadden Sea Region and in studies of relevance to that region, either as a project coordinator or as a researcher. He is also linked to the Wadden Sea Region as a senior lecturer at the School of Leisure & Tourism, Stenden University of Applied Sciences, for example in student projects, graduation research and in research assignments for the Master’s in International Leisure & Tourism Studies.
Dr Nora Mehnen, University of Oldenburg
Nora received her PhD in cultural geography from the University of Groningen in 2013. From 2013 to 2015, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the same university, where she participated in the WaLTER project, focusing on the socio-economic aspects of the trilateral Wadden Sea Region. Nora is currently working at the University of Oldenburg, where she has just launched a three-year project on population decline in four tourist communities in the German part of the Wadden Sea Region. She is also interested in protected areas, rural development and regional economy. Thanks to her German background, she is excellently placed to take the lead in achieving trilateral ambitions of the Jonge Waddenacademie.
Dr Mans Schepers, University of Groningen
Mans received his PhD in 2014, graduating cum laude with his research on vegetation reconstruction along the coast of the northern Netherlands, in particular in the salt marshes surrounding the terps in Groningen and Friesland. In his current research project, made possible by a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, he is studying how terp inhabitants managed to grow crops in the exposed salt marshes. His project involves experimental crop cultivation in the northern Frisian mud flats, in cooperation with It Fryske Gea and ecologists from the University of Groningen. In his research, Mans explores the interface between people and the natural environment. That relationship is an extremely close one in the Netherlands, especially in the Wadden Sea Region. To understand the Wadden Sea Region, then, we must study both human beings and nature. We can only do that by working together.