In November 2021, professor of Earth Sciences Han Dolman, started a five-year term as director of Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ).
“My scientific background is, to a large extent, in carbon cycle research. In the light of climate change, I have for instance been looking into feedback mechanisms in the carbon cycle. What will happen when droughts on specific latitudes increase or decrease? What happens to methane emissions when permafrost thaws? How will carbon uptake be influenced by climate change? These mechanisms change both on land and in the oceans. With the water containing more and more CO2 and thus becoming more acid, the extra uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere will likely decrease. As director of NIOZ, I hope to keep on following that research, although this will be a bit more from the side.”
“My predecessor Henk Brinkhuis has left a well-organized institute with strong departments, focusing on estuarine & delta systems, coastal systems, ocean systems and microbiology and biochemistry. I hope to continue that path, adding an extra layer of cooperation. The different departments share interest in, for example, biodiversity, climate or carbon cycle. Without changing the structure of the institute, cooperation on these themes could be increased. This goes for cooperation outside the institute as well. Together with partners at Naturalis Biodiversity Center for example, or at the Institute for Ecology, NIOO-KNAW, and various universities , we are building an important critical mass in the research community. Eventually, I hope that NIOZ will be the unavoidable spider in the web of marine research, both national and international.”
“One of my new challenges will be to proceed on the path towards a sustainable future of the institute, both financially but also in terms of environmental impact. With the renewal of the research fleet, it is already foreseen that the new vessels may operate almost completely carbon neutral . That is an important contribution towards an environmentally sustainable NIOZ. Next to sustainability, and very important, are diversity and inclusiveness within the institute .”
“Being actively involved in science will be difficult, while leading a research institute the size of NIOZ. I hope, however, to be still actively involved in the Copernicus space program of the European Union. In their project ‘Sentinel 7 project’, several satellites will monitor the CO2-content of the atmosphere. The satellites can also operate over the ocean by changing to ‘glint-mode’, enabling them to ‘see’ CO2 in the light that reflects from the ocean’s surface. As director of NIOZ, I strive to integrate sea research in the national and international scientific network and I will continue my roles as chair of the Global Climate Observing System and the Climate Advisory Board of the European Space Agency.”