Wageningen academic to be director of IIASAProfessor of Earth System Science will stay active at Wageningen
Kabat is the second Dutch incumbent of this prestigious post. Another Wageninger, Leen Hordijk, preceded him in 2002. The IIASA was established in 1972 by the Soviet Union and the United States during the cold war years, to form a scientific bridge between East and Western Europe. The IIASA does research in the fields of climate change, energy, food supplies and the North-South issue.
Kabat started in 1986 at a postdoc at the ICW, a forerunner of Alterra. In 2001, he became professor of Hydrology. He has been chair-holder since the end of 2006. Kabat: ‘I have built up a big group of 80 people, a mix of Alterra and university staff who put the Wageningen model into practice between them. I don't want to just leave that all behind. So I am not saying goodbye. I grew up here, so to speak. I have much to thank Wageningen for. I think that the success and renown of the Wageningen model is what has brought me this important post.'
In his new post, Kabat will lead about 300 scientists. One of the things Kabat will do at the IIASA is to start the new research programme on water. In this context he plans to expand the existing collaboration between Wageningen and the IIASA. ‘In Wageningen we have one of the best groups in the world in that field.'
The new director also plans to expand the institute with several new member countries. ‘At present about thirty countries are part of the IIASA network. I would like to include the Arab countries. Iran and Saudi Arabia for example. And my wildest dream: Israel.'