Research Team

The research team consists of leading scientists in all disciplines relevant to this project (data assimilation, ensemble forecasting, geodesy, hydrography, hydrodynamic modeling, and physical oceanography). External advisors with specialist knowledge relevant for certain parts of the project are added to the team. This page presents the research groups/ institutes involved in Versatile Hydrodynamics.

Geoscience and Remote Sensing


The project members of the Geoscience and Remote Sensing (GRS) department of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology have a long record in realizing the height and depth vertical reference surfaces being used in the Netherlands. They (i) developed the ‘De Min Geoide’ under contract of RWS (which was the official Dutch geoid till 2004), (ii) developed methodology and software that have been used to compute the actual Dutch geoid model NLGEO2004, and (iii) researched and developed the actual Dutch marine geoid model GEONZ97 (used by the RWS and NLHS). Currently the team members are in charge to realize new quasi-geoid and LAT models for the Dutch mainland and continental shelf. The GRS department is also responsible for the vertical stability of NAP using absolute gravity measurements under contract of RWS, and for pre-processing and providing the Dutch data and meta-information needed to realize the EVRS. Starting in 2007, they built in close cooperation with Deltares extensive knowledge in realizing instantaneous water levels relative to a given quasi-geoid model using 2D hydrodynamic models. Based on this knowledge, several new applications of such models in geodesy and hydrography are under development. The project members of GRS also have a record in sea level rise studies and global isostatic adjustment modeling.

Contact: Dr. ir. D.C. (Cornelis) Slobbe -

Mathematical Physics


The project members at the Mathematical Physics (MP) group of the Faculty of Electrial Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science of Delft University of Technology have a long record in applying data assimilation in various applications. For example the Kalman filter and calibration methods for the operational storm surge model in the Netherlands were developed by the MP group (funded by RWS and Deltares). The projects are often carried out in close cooperation with the institutes that create forecasts on a day to day basis, such as the air-quality forecasts by TNO and RIVM. Working in direct cooperation with the end-users makes us aware of the challenges that real-life applications face, such as the need for good computational performance, e.g., through parallel computing and the development of efficient algorithms (e.g., in the recently finished Sangoma H2020 project). The MP group is one of the co-founders of the OpenDA association and an active developer of the OpenDA open source software for data-assimilation.

Contact: Prof. dr. ir. M. (Martin) Verlaan -

Physical Oceanography


The Physical Oceanography (PO) group of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University of Technology has been active for many years in the area of environmental flows, coastal oceanography (Rhine ROFI dynamics), transport of sediment, and development of state-of-the-art coastal ocean models. Within this framework many research projects have been carried out, amongst others ongoing studies on impacts of stratification on sediment dynamics on the Rhine ROFI research financed by STW (Sustainable engineering of coastal systems in Regions of Freshwater Influence), and NWO ‘Flocs and fluff in the Delta: towards dynamic particle properties in a SPM model for the Rhine-Scheldt ROFI’, and on climate change impacts funded by ALW (SCENES). In addition, advanced model developments have been funded by TU Delft, the Alfred Wegener Institute, and by the Canadian ArcticNet. A number of PhD theses have been completed on ROFI and estuarine dynamics and two are ongoing as part of an international collaboration with National Oceanography Centre UK and University of Washington, and a third on flocculation in the Rhine ROFI.

Contact: Prof. dr. J.D. (Julie) Pietrzak -

Aircraft Noise & Climate Effects


The section Aircraft Noise & Climate Effects (ANCE) of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology has long-term expertise in acoustic remote sensing research for both earth observation applications and applications in the field of aircraft noise. For the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, ANCE has developed the publicly available software tool AMUST for predicting uncertainty in depth measurements. Within the Bodemblues project, ANCE has developed a number of methods for acoustic classification of underwater sediments. These methods are currently used by RWS for mapping sediments on the Cleaverbank, a Natura 2000 area.

Contact: Dr. ir. M. (Mirjam) Snellen -

Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG)


The Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) is the German service provider for topographic basic information, cartography, and geodetic reference systems. The geodetic department of BKG is in charge of the definition and realization of the German geodetic reference systems. Furthermore BKG provides the connections between German, European, and international reference frames. In this scope BKG makes an important contribution to the international services for VLBI, GNSS, Laser ranging, gravity field, and Earth rotation. BKG was one of the two computation centers both for the current German height reference frame DHHN92 and for the new frame DHHN2016. Since 1994, BKG has been the data and computation center for the UELN. Within the scope of its collaboration in EUREF (IAG sub-commission for European reference frames), BKG played a major role in the definition of the EVRS and computed the previous realizations EVRF2000 and EVRF2007.



Deltares is a not-for-profit organization for applied research and specialized advice. Most research is commissioned by governments in the Netherlands and abroad, and by the private sector. A large part of these are end-users. Therefore, utilization of research can be considered part of the core business of Deltares. Deltares has developed hydrodynamic models and operational forecasting systems for many parts of the world. Deltares’ FEWS software environment forms the basis of dozens of operational forecasting systems around the world. Deltares is also one of the leading developers and partners of the OpenDA open source association. Furthermore, Deltares has a long experience in providing real-time data for tidal reduction of bathymetric data. The open-source hydrodynamic modeling software of Deltares is used by thousands of end-users around the world. This project will make use of Delft3D-FM, the successor of the famous Delft3D model.