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Assistant Professor, Hydrological Extremes, Utrecht University

Niko Wanders was born in November 1986 in Leiden, The Netherlands. In 2005 he started his Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Soil Water Atmosphere at Wageningen University. He continued his studies with a Master of Science (MSc) in Hydrology and Water Quality with a specialization in Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management. During his MSc education he worked on three European Commission projects related to drought: EC-WATCH, EC-XEROCHORE and Drought-R&SPI.

In 2011 he started as a PhD researcher at the Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University. He worked on improving near real-time flood forecasting with satellite soil moisture observations using Bayesian data assimilation techniques. Results of his PhD study are implemented in the European Flood Awareness System of the EC-Joint Research Centre and contribute to improved flood forecasting. Together with the Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group in Wageningen University he worked on research related to (hydrological) drought.
After his PhD, Niko was employed at the department of Physical Geography at Utrecht University working on research related to the development and implementation of a flood and water temperature model in the global hydrological model PCR-GLOBWB.

Niko continued his research for at the Terrestrial Hydrology Research Group, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Princeton University, United States. He received a personal NWO-Rubicon fellowship to finance his research for the coming two years. He developed a seasonal drought forecasting system as part of his Rubicon research at Princeton University.

Currently, Niko has a position as assistant professor hydrological extremes at the department of Physical Geography where he works on topics related to hydrological drought, flood forecasting, hyper-resolution modelling, satellite data assimilation and seasonal forecasting. In 2017, he was awarded a NWO-VENI grant to support his research on the impacts of human reservoir management on drought in large-scale river basins. Recently he received the NWO-Vening Meinesz award for his research into the predictability into floods and droughts on weekly and seasonal timescales. This two-yearly personal award from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research is awarded to early career geoscientists that have graduated in the past six years. The award provides the awardee with additional research funding in recognition of their scientific achievements.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor, Hydrological Extremes, Utrecht University