PhD research

HKV employs 14 consultants with a PhD degree. That is almost a quarter of the employees who work at HKV as consultants. Some recent promotions are listed below.

Guy Dupuits obtained his PhD at TU Delft on 20 December 2019. Guy researched the inclusion of breaches in a system of flood defences for the purpose of determining the economically acceptable flood risk. A breach in a flood defence will affect the flood risk for other flood defences in the same system. The economically optimal relationship between costs (flood defence reinforcements) and benefits (reduction of flood risk) changes with the inclusion of breaches.
Read more here.

Vincent Vuik successfully defended his PhD thesis at TU Delft in March 2019. He researched the reliability of Building with Nature flood protection measures. Vegetated foreshores, such as salt marshes and mangrove forests, received most attention in his research.
Read more here.

In addition, the following HKVs are engaged in research that should lead to a dissertation:

Lieke Lokin – University of Twente

Lieke Lokin started her PhD research on the topic of river dunes in January 2020. River dunes are dynamic bed forms moving over the riverbed. During high discharges, these dunes grow and during low discharges they decrease again. The growth and decrease lags the changes in discharge, this hysteresis results in dunes that are too small relative to the discharge the during the peak of a flood wave. After the peak has passed, the dunes are too large, but they also start adapting to the changing flow.
River dunes cause two problems: during high discharges they increase the bed roughness, which leads to higher water levels, during low discharges the crests of the dunes decrease the navigable depth creating ‘obstacles’ for shipping. In her research Lieke focusses on the dynamics of these river dunes, especially during (extreme) low discharges and the transition from high discharges towards the low discharges. Eventually she strives to develop a model to predict the dune size during high and low flows.

  • L. Lokin, MSc adviseur Rivieren, kusten en delta's Thema's Rivieren, Kusten en delta's
  • Guus Rongen – TU Delft

    The new standard for the assessment of flood defenses in the Netherlands is based on flood probabilities, as imposed in the WBI2017. This standard method is less suitable for some flood defenses. For example, because the local circumstances do not match the scope of the models or because the models are based on conservative choices. We can see the effect of this in the levee assessments, where (sometimes incorrect) high flood probabilities are reported. In Guus’ promotion research, it is investigated whether expert opinions (expert judgment) can better do justice to the local circumstances. For example, by getting a better picture of the uncertainties in soil conditions or loads, or by better estimating dependencies between parameter values, mechanisms or levee sections. The aim is to develop a new method to be able to estimate the probability of flooding in a more reliable way based on expert opinions. The TKI project is carried out in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares and HKV lijn in water.

  • G.W.F. Rongen, MSc. Consultant Risk and disaster management Thema's Risk and disaster management
  • Ties van der Heijden – TU Delft

    Ties van der Heijden started his PhD research in October 2019. He researches the balancing capacity that the Dutch water system can deliver to the electricity grid. Renewable energy has a de-stabilizing effect on the grid. By adjusting the energy demand of pumping stations in a smart way, they can contribute to grid stability and reliability. Ties researches the available electricity market- and balancing-mechanisms, how they can evolve over the coming years, and how the water system (with all its uncertainties) can use them to facilitate the energy transition.

  • ir. T.J.T. van der Heijden adviseur Water en Klimaat Thema's Water en Klimaat
  • Joost Pol – TU Delft

    Joost Pol started his PhD in September 2017, studying how dike safety assessments can be improved by including flood duration and time-dependent failure processes such as piping erosion. His research includes experiments on the development of piping erosion, as well as modelling of these processes. He uses reliability methods to quantify potential benefits of this new knowledge for dike safety and reduction of dike improvement costs. Furthermore, he investigates whether interactions between failure mechanisms, such as slope stability and piping, affect the dike safety. This better understanding of failure processes and it’s effect on safety potentially results in reduced costs or scopes of improvement projects. This research at Delft University of Technology is part of the All risk research program. (

  • J.C. Pol, MSc. adviseur Rivieren, kusten en delta's Thema's Rivieren, Kusten en delta's
  • Hermjan Barneveld – Wageningen University

    Over the past century we have changed the Maas considerably by building dams, cutting bends, normalizing and extracting sand and gravel. After the floods of 1993 and 1995, dykes were constructed and the Meuse works were carried out, creating space and nature. As a result, the Meuse has become an even more complex river and we do not sufficiently understand how the system behaves. This also applies to morphology, i.e. the transport of gravel, sand and silt and the erosion and sedimentation processes. At the moment we do not know what the sediment balance for the Meuse looks like and what the consequences of an imbalance could be for nature, shipping and stability of infrastructure.
    Hermjan’s PhD research at Wageningen University & Research started on 1 February 2020. The first part concentrates on morphological modelling and how this can be accelerated for long term simulations. Next the sediment balance will be analyzed, followed by research into the most important morphological processes in this supply limited river with its many weirs. Finally techniques for long-term morphological impact assessment of measures and climate change will be studied and applied, taking into consideration the main uncertainties.

  • ir. H.J. Barneveld senior adviseur Rivieren, kusten en delta's Thema's Rivieren, kusten en delta's