Center Postdoc Derek Van Berkel Wins Professional Development Award to Lead Session at International Conference

A photo of Derek Van Berkel

Center postdoctoral researcher Dr. Derek Van Berkel is a resident expert in sustainability and geospatial modeling. NC State’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs recently recognized his work with a 2016 Professional Development Award, funding that will help support his coordination of a special session at an upcoming international conference.

In October, Derek will lead a 1.5-hour session at the Global Land Project’s Third Open Science Meeting in Beijing, China. The first two meetings were held in Arizona in 2010 and Germany in 2014; Derek attended each. “Big environmental questions are being explored at these conferences,” he says, where researchers from all over the world gather to discuss the state of the science for many pressing land use issues. This year, the main theme of the meeting is Land system science: understanding realities and developing solutions.

At Derek’s session, speakers will “address the challenges, opportunities, and outcomes of coupling land-use models with ecosystem service evaluations,” he explains. In particular, researchers will explore how computer simulations of urban growth can help forecast the availability of important services that non-urban spaces provide––such as agricultural production, forest growth, and recreational opportunities.

Derek’s session emerged from a collaboration between Peter Verburg of VU University of Amsterdam, Jennifer Koch at University of Oklahoma, and other members of the Center for Geospatial Analytics, specifically Director Ross Meentemeyer and Ph.D. students Lindsey Smart and Georgina Sanchez.

At the center, Derek is a key developer of FUTURES (FUTure Urban-Regional Environment Simulation), an open-source model for simulating future scenarios of urban growth.

Congratulations, Derek, on your great work!