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PhD Researchers & Theses

Below are given some examples of (former) PhD students and their research at IVM.

PhD Thesis Brenden Jongman (Cum Laude)

"Unravelling the drivers of flood risk across spatial scales"


Each year, flooding of river systems causes widespread economic losses and numerous fatalities around the world. To reduce flood risk, risk management strategies are required from local to global scales. For steering effective risk management strategies, it is essential to understand the drivers of flood risk, historical trends in these drivers and possible future developments in risk. Considering that flood risk is increasing due to socioeconomic growth and may further rise under climate change, and given that global political and economic systems are becoming increasingly interconnected, the comprehensive assessment of flood risk across all spatial scales is crucial for developing effective risk reduction pathways. The main objective of this thesis is, therefore, to quantify trends and patterns in flood risk across different spatial scales, and to assess the opportunities for adaptation to current and future risks. Evidence is presented from case-studies in the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Europe, Uganda and on a global scale, that gives more insight in the socioeconomic and climatic drivers of flood risk, and suggests pathways to effective adaptation for the increasing risks.

PhD Thesis Harro van Asselt (Cum Laude / SENSE PhD Award 2014)

"The fragmentation of global climate governance: Consequences and management of regime interactions"


Harro was a PhD student with the department of Environmental Policy Analysis at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), and he defended his PhD in October 2013 (cum laude). The dissertation explores the fragmented state of global climate change governance by addressing the interactions between the United Nations (UN) climate regime and other international climate-related regimes such as ‘minilateral’ clean technology agreements, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the World Trade Organization. Furthermore, based on his study of the consequences of such interactions in global climate governance, he proposes possible management options that would address conflicts and enhance synergies between these climate-related regimes. Besides clear academic relevance of exploring the consequences and the management of regime interactions, his theses draws attention to those aspects that are highly relevant from the policy makers’ perspective as well. Accordingly he proposes possible policy recommendations based upon each individual regime interaction and the changing role of the UN climate regime in a fragmented governance landscape.

PhD Thesis Marije Schaafsma

"Spatial effects in stated preference studies for environmental valuation"


Through survey research using choice experiments, this thesis assesses how much people are willing to pay for improved water quality in local water bodies in the Netherlands. In her following reply, Schaafsma responds to the public debate following her article "Hedwigepolder: publieke waardering van natuurontwikkeling in Zeeland" published in H2O, December 2010, and a related news item in the Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant. "Understanding the spatial nature of the environmental services and the spatial distribution of the associated benefits is paramount for reliable estimation of both individual and total willingness-to-pay (WTP). The identification of the economic jurisdiction, consisting of those people who are affected by environmental changes, is necessary to aggregate estimates of individual WTP over the relevant population to estimate the total economic benefits (or costs). Vital questions are how many people are willing to pay for improving water quality at site A; how far from this site are people no longer willing to pay, for instance, because the site is too far away; and how much are people willing to pay for site A, if they live near alternative sites providing similar amenities? In spite of the vast body of literature on environmental valuation using stated preference (SP) methods, the number of empirical studies addressing these questions adequately is very limited, and the effects of distance and the availability of substitutes are often ignored."


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