Biermann and De Moel win the 2013 VU Societal Impact Awards, senior and junior category

Frank Biermann receives the Senior Societal Impact Award for his “path-breaking research on global environmental policy”, including his pioneering conceptual work on “earth system governance”.

Hans de Moel wins the Junior Societal Impact Award for his highly relevant PhD research on calculating the risk and potential economic damage of river flooding in The Netherlands. 

VU Societal Impact Award
The VU awards each year two Societal Impact Awards, in the junior and senior categories. The Junior Societal Impact Award goes to a doctoral student who has completed a thesis with potentially high future societal impact. The Senior Societal Impact Award is granted to a VU researcher with a long-standing and excellent research record whose work has also very high societal impact. A monetary prize of 5000 Euro will be made available to further disseminate research results within society.

Hans de Moel describes in his thesis how flood risks in the Netherlands can be calculated, as well as potential consequences for society, such as economic damage. De Moel has developed a systematic methodology to calculate the causes of uncertainties, and analyzed in detail the total chain of uncertainties from hazard up to potential damage. With the results of this groundbreaking doctoral research, societies can take better decisions based on the calculated risks.

More information on the thesis 'Uncertainty in Flood Risk' (in Dutch, with a small video) can be found on The content of the thesis is on VU-dare: Uncertainty in Flood Risk

Contact: see website Hans de Moel

Frank Biermann receives the 2013 Senior Societal Impact Award for his “internationally path-breaking research on global environmental policy”, including his pioneering conceptual work on “earth system governance”. Biermann’s impact lies also in his foundational role in the setting up of the international research programme Earth System Governance. The Jury report identifies Biermann as an “excellent researcher who belongs internationally to the top of his field”. Biermann’s research has a high societal impact and fits, according to the Jury, perfectly to the values and traditions of the VU University.

For more information on Biermann’s research group at the VU University, see the EPA Department website. For more information on the Earth System Governance research alliance, see

Contact: see website Frank Biermann

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