UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Professor Arthur Petersen appointed as scientific adviser to Dutch Delta Commissioner

14 December 2023

Professor Arthur Petersen, Professor of Science, Technology and Public Policy within UCL STEaPP, has been appointed as Chair of the Dutch Delta Programme’s Signal Group, a role amounting to Chief Scientific Adviser to the Delta Commissioner.

Headshot of Prof. Arthur Petersen
The Netherlands is a low-lying country with a lot of water. The Dutch Delta Programme protects the Netherlands against high water and flooding, ensures there is enough fresh water, and contributes to climate-resilient and water-robust planning for the country. Professor Arthur Petersen, who was previously Chief Scientist of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency from 2011–2014 before he joined UCL, has been appointed as Chair of the Signal Group of the Dutch Delta Programme, commencing 1st January 2024 (Signal Group homepage, in Dutch). The Chair effectively functions as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Dutch Delta Commissioner. Professor Arthur Petersen will combine the new role with his UCL duties.


The Signal Group of the Dutch Delta Programme is a group of external experts that was set up in 2016 to periodically analyse which information is of relevance to the Delta Programme. Specifically, the group is charged with mapping out the external developments (physical and socio-economic conditions; knowledge development; and political developments and societal preferences) that could constitute reason for a reconsideration of the Delta Decisions, preferential strategies, and Delta Plans, or an adjustment of their implementation (as stated in its first advice in 2017).

Professor Arthur Petersen was involved in the design of ‘adaptive delta management’ in the Delta Programme. Last year, he led the external evaluation of the Signal Group.

Earlier this year, Professor Arthur Petersen has also been asked by policy-makers and scientists in the Dutch government to advise on the science–policy interface concerning environmental quality (in particular with respect to nitrogen), see here.

Professor Arthur Petersen joined UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) full-time in September 2014 after more than 13 years’ working as a scientific adviser on environment and infrastructure policy within the Dutch Government. He has been a member of STEaPP's Leadership Team from 2014–2018 (in 2016-17 he was Acting Head of Department), and again from 2022 (as Director of Education). In the 2023/24 academic year he will co-lead modules on Climate, Innovation and Sustainability Policy and on Risk Assessment and Governance. He will also be contributing to other modules within STEaPP, including Science Diplomacy.

Professor Arthur Petersen is also Editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.