ERM student Mieke Westerhaus wins the prestigious Rachel Carson Graduation Prize 2018 of the Dutch Network of Environmental Professional (VVM)

Her MSc thesis, ‘The Role of Water in Migration: Qualitative and Quantitative Evidence from Africa and the Middle East’ co-supervised by Drs Jampel Dell’Angelo and Paolo Scussolini has been recognized for its great scientific quality, societal relevance and applicability by a jury of 8 distinguished members from science, education and practice in the environmental arena.

11/12/2018 | 1:41 PM

Mieke’s thesis is very original. While it would seem easy to believe that the relationship between water scarcity and migration is a well understood and studied phenomenon in the scientific arena, it is not. There has been interesting research on the relationship between migration and climate change, in particular on droughts, crops failures and decision to migrate. However, a systematic characterization of the relationship between hydrological conditions (both economic and physical water scarcity) and migratory patterns has not been produced yet. Mieke mixed social and natural science approaches, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods. She conducted a systematic literature review, employed a case study approach, and statistical analyses of large datasets. All the different approaches were very originally combined to extract useful information and support her analysis. 

About the prize

The graduation prize is named after Rachel Carson, the author of the book 'Silent Spring'. Some fifty years ago this book indicated the beginning of the awareness of a broader audience for environmental problems in large areas of the world. The title refers to the spring of the apocalyptic year that the birds do not sing anymore because they are exterminated by the use of pesticides. The prize is established to make the research results of students on environmental issues public.