PhD research

HKV employs 14 PhD students. 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 (dyke reinforcements) and benefits (reduction of flood risk) changes with the inclusion of breaches.
Read more here.

Vincent Vuik successfully defended his thesis at TU Delft in March 2019. He researched the reliability of Building with Nature flood protection measures. Overgrown forelands, such as salt marshes and salt marshes, received the 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 in river dunes in January 2020. River dunes are relatively large soil forms. At high drains these soil forms grow, when the drainage decreases they slowly decompose again. The growth and degradation of the dunes lag behind water level development; this hysteresis ensures that the dunes are relatively too low before high tide and too high after high tide if equilibrium dimensions are taken into account. River dunes cause two problems: at high discharges the dunes increase roughness, which in turn leads to higher water levels, and at low discharges the dunes are obstacles to navigation. In her research Lieke aims to better understand the dynamics of river dunes with a focus on the transition from high to extremely low water and to convert this knowledge into a prediction model for the size of the dunes.

  • L. Lokin, MSc adviseur Rivieren, kusten en delta's Thema's Rivieren, Kusten en delta's
  • Guus Rongen – TU Delft
    The new standards for testing flood defences in the Netherlands are based on flood probability, as laid down in the WBI2017. For some flood defences this standard method is less suitable. For example, because local conditions fall outside the scope of the models or because the models are set up with conservative choices. The effect of this can be seen in the dike assessments, where (sometimes unjustifiably) high flood probabilities are reported. Guus Rongen’s PhD thesis investigates whether expert judgement can be used to do better justice to local conditions. For example, by gaining a better picture of uncertainties in soil conditions or loads, or by better estimating dependencies between parameter values, mechanisms or dike sections. The aim is to develop a new method for more reliable assessment of flood probability of flood defences based on expert opinions. We are carrying out the TKI project in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares and HKV.

  • 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. Ties is investigating the balancing capacity that the Dutch water system can have in the electricity network. Renewable energy has a destabilising effect on the electricity network. By cleverly adapting the demand for energy, you help to balance supply and demand. Ties investigates the available energy market and balancing mechanisms, what is expected to be done in the coming years, and how the water system (with all its uncertainties) can have the most positive impact on the energy transition.

  • ir. T.J.T. van der Heijden adviseur Water en Klimaat Thema's Water en Klimaat
  • Joost Pol – TU Delft
    Since September 2017, Joost Pol has been investigating how the safety assessment of dykes can be improved by taking into account flood duration and time-dependent failure processes, such as erosion by piping. To this end he is conducting experimental research into the speed of the erosion process during piping, using small and large scale tests. In addition, he is working on improving models and failure probability analyses to quantify how much these processes contribute to the safety of our dikes. He also explores how different failure processes, such as piping and macrostability, affect each other, and whether this has an effect on safety. With the new knowledge from this PhD research, dikes may be reinforced at lower costs, or it may be demonstrated that reinforcement is not necessary in some cases. The research takes place at TU Delft as part of the AllRisk programme.

  • 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 Meuse considerably by building dams, cutting bends, normalising and extracting sand and gravel. After the floods of 1993 and 1995, dykes were built and the Meuse works were carried out, creating space and nature. As a result, the Meuse has become a complex river and we do not know how it functions. The same applies to morphology, i.e. the transport of gravel, sand and silt and the processes of erosion and sedimentation. At the moment it is not well known what the sediment balance for the Meuse looks like and what the consequences of an imbalance could be for nature, shipping and the stability of the infrastructure. In his research at Wageningen University & Research, Hermjan started with the sediment balance on 1 February 2020. This will be followed by research into the most important morphological processes in the disturbed river with its many weirs and very limited supply of sediment from upstream.

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