Dishonest property owners ("slum-lords") cause many problems in municipalities. They use their properties for large scale hemp plantations, the maintenance is often bad and they are occasionally involved in housing migrant workers in severe conditions. The situation has a heavy burden on the quality of life in cities. To tackle the problems a statutory instrument was developed with which the local authorities and the public prosecutor's office can deal with the "slum-lords". The research team led by Dr. Michel Vols (Faculty of law) will study the effect of this instrument in the next two years. With the help of an extensive grant from the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations the team will be, among other activities, involved in retention rounds in problematic neighbourhoods and organise several local meetings.
Developing socially responsible innovations: The role of values and moral emotions
This project aims to develop an innovative emotion-based design perspective for socially responsible innovations that are acceptable and justifiable on ethical grounds. This is important considering the emotional controversies with regard to many societal challenges related to climate change, energy and resource use, and water and food security. Emotions are commonly seen as “irrational” in decision-making. Traditional approaches aim at inducing positive responses to innovations, but they typically neglect values and moral considerations underlying emotional responses, making these approaches less effective and even ethically dubious. We propose that people’s important values predict their emotional responses to innovations, which in turn drive public acceptability. Values and emotions can therefore play a constructive role in developing socially responsible innovations. Our perspective is relevant for many sectors and different (cultural) contexts, since we examine general ethical principles and emotional processes. Therefore, we collaborate with private partners that are active in different sectors where controversial innovations are being developed. We will develop guidelines on how to incorporate values and emotions in developing socially responsible innovations, and we will deliver these guidelines to (potential) users in a user-friendly format. This is pivotal for developing new governance models targeting socially responsible innovations.
AfricanBioServices: Linking biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services in the Great Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem
(GSME) - drivers of change, causalities and sustainable management strategies
The direct dependence of humans on ecosystem services is by far strongest in developing regions where poverty restricts access to resources. This dependency also makes people in developing countries more sensitive to climate change than their developed counterparts. Increasing human populations deteriorates natural habitat, biodiversity and ecosystems services which spiral into poverty and low human welfare. This calls for innovative solutions that encompass the entire socioecological-
economic system, as recognized on a global scale in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. However, innovative and practical solutions require downscaling to regional levels for identifying concrete sets of drivers of change. For Africa specifically, the interplay of human population growth, land use change, climate change and human well-being is a major challenge. This project focuses on the Serengeti-Maasai Mara Ecosystem and associated agricultural areas, a region in East Africa that encompasses parts of Kenya and Tanzania. The ecosystem is world-famous for key aspects of its
biodiversity, such as the migration of 1.3 million wildebeest. This ‘flagship ecosystem’ role will enhance the international interest in the project. In this project, internationally leading researchers from Norway, the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark and Germany are teaming up with strong local partners in Tanzania and Kenya. The research will be organised in seven interlinked work packages: 1) assemble and integrate the so far separate Kenyan and Tanzanian relevant data on the region; 2) quantify the connections between human population growth, land use change, climate change and biodiversity
change; 3) test how biodiversity change leads to changes in key ecosystem services; 4) quantify the dependence of human livelihoods on these ecosystem services. We will implement innovative ways for communication and dissemination of the results of ‘continuous engagement’ by local stakeholders.
Een filmpje over het onderzoek van RUG-natuurkundige Bart van Wees is opgepikt door de populaire wetenschapsblogger Hashem Al-Ghaili. Via zijn Facebook site is de film in een paar dagen tijd meer dan 260.000 keer bekeken en ruim 2.100 keer gedeeld....
Als kleine jongen ervoer hij het enorme contrast tussen Oost- en West-Berlijn. Nu maakt hij zich sterk voor het verminderen van schrijnende gezondheidsverschillen in onze regio. Een gesprek met Jochen Mierau, de onvermoeibare initiatiefnemer van de...
De Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (KHMW) heeft Jan-Willem Romeijn en Jacquelien Scherpen benoemd als nieuw lid. Jouke de Vries is benoemd als directeur.