Research projects

Promotor / supervisor of the following PhD research projects (completed):

  • Qian Ke (November 11, 2014) flood risk analysis for Shanghai; with prof. Vrijling
  • Xuexue Chen – PhD research (November 2, 2016) – hydraulic impacts of overtopping waves on buildings; with prof. W. Uijttewaal and dr. B. Hofland
  • Dominik Paprotny (November 14, 2018) Pan European flood hazard modelling, with O. Morales Napoles
  • Kasper Lendering (November 26, 2018), Advancing methods for evaluating flood risk reduction measure, with prof. M. Kok
  • Vincent Vuik (March , 2019) Building Safety with Nature: salt marshes for flood risk reduction, with dr. B. Borsje
  • Alfred A. Roubos (16 October, 2019) Enhancing reliability-based assessments of quay walls, with prof. R. Steenbergen
  • Ece Ozer (May 25, 2020) Understanding Levee Failures From Historical and Satellite Observations, with prof. R. Hanssen

Ongoing (start date indicated):

  • Job Kool (2016) hindcasting historical levee failures; with prof. C. Jommi
  • Erik van Berchum (2016) advances in flood risk assessment, with prof. M. Kok
  • Marco Bolognin (2016) flow slides; with prof. M. Hicks and dr. P. Vardon
  • Paul Sayers (2016) flood risk management, with prof. C. Zevenbergen
  • Orson Tieleman (2016) dynamics of hydraulic structures, with dr. B. Hofland
  • Joost Pol (2017) incorporating past performance and serviceability limit states; with prof. M. Kok
  • Arny Lengkeek (2017) Performance based design of sheet piles in flood defences; with dr. R. Brinkgreve
  • Christopher Lashley (2017) Propagation of long waves on foreshores in front of dikes, with J. van der Meer (IHE) and JD Bricker
  • Ermano de Almeida (2018) wave impacts on hydraulic structures; with dr. B. Hofland
  • Nadieh Meinen (2018) – structural reliability of hydraulic structures, with R. Steenbergen
  • Gina Torres (2019) – risks of submerged floating tunnels, with O. Morales
  • Marcel t Hart (2019) – risks and structural performance of submerged floating tunnels, with O. Morales
  • Danny Jansen (2019) – performance of emergency measures during floods – the Bresdefender, with B. Hofland and Ministry of Defence.
  • Hans van Duivendijk (2019) Fighting against the current Repair of dike breaches and damming of tidal channels by simple means; with Henk Jan Verhagen
  • Robert Bentivoglio (2020) – Artifical Intelligence in flood risk management, with Riccardo Taormina and Elvin Isufi (EWI)

Committee member for the following PhD defences:

  • C. Mai van (2010) Probabilistic design of coastal flood defences in Vietnam
  • Philip Bubeck (2013) Private Flood Mitigation Measures in a Changing Risk Environment (VU Amsterdam, promotor J. Aerts)
  • Xuefei Mei (2013) Probabilistic analysis of floods in catchments with dams
  • W. Kanning (2013) The weakest link, spatial variability in the piping failure mechanism of dikes
  • H. Zhong (2014) The joint impact of storm surge, fluvial flood and operation of man-made structures on the high water level frequency in the Lower Rhine Delta
  • F. Li (2014) Probabilistic estimation of dune erosion and coastal zone risk
  • T. Schweckendiek (2014) On reducing piping uncertainties: A Bayesian decision approach
  • C. Erdbrink (September 2014, VU Amsterdam) modelling flow-induced vibrations of hydraulic structure gates (promotor P. Sloot)
  • G. Shams (October 2014) Probabilistic analysis of failure mechanisms of large dams
  • J. van Loon – Steensma (October 2014, Wageningen University, promotor P. Vellinga) Salt marshes for flood protection
  • Duong Bach (Dec 3, 2014) Reliability based design and quality control of bored piles.
  • Rocco Custer (June 2015, DTU Denmark, promotors: M. Faber, K. Nishijima) Hierarchical Modelling of Flood Risk for Engineering Decision Analysis
  • J. Danka (2015,University of Hongkong) Mathematical model for the assessment of overtopping erosion of river dikes
  • V. Tsimopoulou (2015) Economic optimization of flood risk management projects
  • K. Wojciechowska (2015) Advances in operational flood risk management in the Netherlands
  • G. Zhao (2016) breach growth in cohesive embankments due to overtopping
  • E. Mwelwa Mutekenya (June 2016, Unseco IHE) Establishing the Environmental Flow Regime for the Middle Zambezi River
  • Khuong Tat Chien (June 2016) shoreline response to detached breakwaters in prototype, Reserve member
  • Peter van Veelen; resilience of waterfront development (November 2016)
  • M.Z. Voorendt (June 2017) Design principles of multifunctional flood defences
  • D.J. Peters (June 2017) Design of pattern-placed revetments
  • Kang Liu (September 2017) Reduction of uncertainty in stability calculations for slopes under seepage
  • Chunqing Wang (December 2017; Unesco IHE) Modelling of ice floods in the Yangtze river.
  • Wiebke Jaeger (June 2018) Multivariate methods for coastal and off shore risks
  • Zhilin Zhang (January 2019) A theoretical basis for salinity intrusions in estuaries
  • Marloes van Ginkel (March 2019) Design of the subsurface of land reclamations for freshwater storage and recovery
  • Guy Dupuits (Dec 2019) Optimal system safety targets: Incorporating hydrodynamic interactions in an economic cost-benefit analysis for flood defence systems
  • Hermen Smit (Dec 2019) Making water security: A morphological account of Nile River development
  • Tom de Gast (Jan 2020) Dykes and Embankments: a Geostatistical Analysis of Soft Terrain
  • Martine van den Boomen (July 2020) Replacement optimisation for public infrastructure assets
  • Divya Varkey (September 2020) Geotechnical uncertainties and reliability-based assessments of dykes
  • Alex Curran (December 2020) Flood risk analysis of embanked river systems: Probabilistic systems approaches for the Rhine and Po rivers
  • Pim Willemsen (January 2021, Twente University) Biogeomorphology of salt marshes



Other Research Projects


New approaches for coastal resilience in Bangladesh

Expert / team leader

Developing cost estimates for coastal defence and adaptation in Bangladesh. This  also includes an assessment of the opportunities for mangroves in Bangladesh. Client: World Bank, US $ 49,5000


Adaptation to sea level rise in the Netherlands


A review on options for adaptation to sea level rise in the Netherlands, including options for coastal defence and adaptation of storm surge barriers. Contributions to publications by ENW and Deltares.


New York / New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study (HATS)


Study on alternatives for future flood risk reduction in the New York / New Jersey area. Activities included a review of storm surge barrier concepts and designs. Client: Moffatt & Nichol



Submerged floating tunnels

Co PI and Risk expert

Research program on the concept of submerged floating tunnels. Various work packages will address fluid structure interaction, hydrodynamics and risk of the SFT concept. In total 3 PhD’s at TU Delft. Partners include TEC (Tunnel Engineering Consultants), CCCC and various research institutes

2017 - present

All Risk: implementation of new risk based standards in the Dutch flood protection program

Work package leader and supervisor

Large research project to develop fundamental and applicable knowledge for the Dutch flood protection program (HWBP). Research topics and PhD positions that I am involved in include: risk-based system optimization, waves on dikes with foreshores, reliability analysis of structural features in dikes. Total size, around 4MEuro, 14 PhD’s, 4 postdocs (5 PhD’s and 1 postdoc in our group) Funded by STW the Netherlands and with support of end users


Dutch Safety Board: Evaluation of the accident at weir Grave

Expert / reviewer

Reviewer of the investigation by the Dutch safety board (onderzoeksraad veiligheid) regarding the accident at weir Grave.

2016 – 2017

Houston /Texas

MODOS: multiple lines of defence system optimization

Principal investigator

The aim of the proposed project is to develop a risk-based optimization framework to assess the different (combinations) of interventions based on costs, surge and risk reduction in a bay. The framework will be applied to proposed sets of interventions in the Galveston Bay to find the optimal “multiple lines of defense” strategy for the Houston Galveston region. This approach has also been applied to Beira (Mozambique). Erik van Berchum carries out the research. Funded by Texas A&M Galveston and the World Bank

2016 - 2020

BRIGAID: Bridge the Gap for Innovations in Disaster resilience

Coordinator and scientific director

The ambition of BRIGAID is to provide structural and ongoing support for innovations for climate adaptation and the reduction of risks of floods, drought and extreme weather. This is achieved by developing an innovative mix of assessment methods and tools which should become the new standards. As part of the project new facilities will be developed, such as Flood Proof Romania, a new test site in Romania.  The project involves 24 academic and industry partners from 13 countries including Israel, Curacao, Romania, and Albania.

Funded by the European Commission, Total 7.8 M€, of which around 1.5 M€ at TU Delft

2015 - present

SAFElevee, Improving the reliability of flood defence systems by a better understanding of their failure mechanisms

Principal investigator

Research on the collection and analysis of historical failures of flood defences. 2 PhD and  one postdoc on aspects such as macro scale levee failure patterns, hindcasting of historical failures and breaches. Partners represent government (USACE, Rijkswaterstaat) and industry.

Funded by STW, € 750,000 at TU Delft 

2014 - 2017

BE_SAFE, safety of vegetated foreshores

Principal Investigator

Research program on the safety of vegetated foreshores in cooperation with Twente, NIOZ and TU Delft TBM. Various work packages focus on safety and risk reduction, beogeomorphology, ecology and governance.

Supported by NWO, total project value is around €950,000


Training on sustainable dike and flood risk management

Expert, flood risk and dikes

Two week training on sustainable dike and flood management, provided for water managers in Mozambique in the south of the country (Limpopo and Incomati river basins). Training covered theory, applications and exercises and field visits. Funded by Nuffic

2013 - present
Texas, USA

Houston Galveston Bay flood risk reduction

Expert, team leader / principal investigator

Multidisciplinary research and design study on flood risk reduction for the area, including engineering design of interventions, such as storm surge barriers. Scientific coordinator for efforts within TU Delft with inputs from civil engineering, architecture and policy. Activities include the design of the coastal spine protection scheme features (land barriers and storm surge barrier), strategic advice and review and several exchange workshops.


Post-flood field investigation after the floods in Germany

Team leader / expert 

Investigation of caused and effects of the 2013 floods along the Elbe river and its tributaries. Specific focus was on levee failures.

Shanghai (China)

Field investigation and preliminary flood risk analysis of the Shanghai Flood Defence System

Expert, team leader

2012 / 2013

Training on integrated flood management

Training leader / trainer

Organizing a training on flood management for experts from Kasetsart University, Bangkok, and other Thai agencies

Supported by Nuffic.


Advances in Coastal Disasters Risk Management - Lessons from the March 2011 Tsunami

Project manager

Organizing a seminar for exchanging knowledge between Dutch and Japanese researchers.

Supported by the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (NWO)

United States

Comparative research on loss of life, evacuation and emergency management (EEM) methods (in preparation)

Principal investigator / expert

Research program in which Dutch methods for loss of life estimation and evacuation analysis are applied to levee systems in the United States (New Orleans, California and Florida).

Supported by the United States Army Corps of Engineers

2011 - 2015

Research on wave overtopping loads on buildings and damage to buildings

STW Research program on multifunctional flood defences, subproject 1.1.1 “Hydraulic impact of overtopping waves on a multifunctional dike”. PhD research by Xuexue Chen, supported by Flanders Hydraulic Lab and STW.


Post-flood field investigation in the Lower Chao Phraya Basin

Team leader / expert

Field investigation focussing on the effects of the 2011 floods in Thailand on the flood management system (levees, structures).

Supported by the Expertise Network on Flood Protection


Coastal Defences Cost Estimates

Team leader  / expert

Study on cost estimates for (coastal) flood defences, based on data from the Netherlands, Vietnam and New Orleans.

Supported by the University of Southampton

Hanoi, Vietnam

Sea dike project Vietnam


Advisor for the sea dike program in Vietnam regarding the damage and loss of life due to flooding and implementation of new design guidelines and safety standards.


Tidal Energy in Zeeland


Investigation of the feasibility of the generation of tidal energy in Zeeland (the Netherlands).

Supported by Delta N.V.

2007 – 2011

BC Hydro Life Safety Model

Team leader / advisor

BC Hydro has developed a life safety model that simulates the consequences of dam breaks. This project involved research activities and the application of the model in some case studies.

Supported by British Columbia Hydro

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