Dr. ir. Niko Wanders

Associate Professor
Land Degradation and Remote Sensing
+31 30 253 7504

"How can we improve our understanding of droughts and floods and how can we reduce their impact?"


Research focus: hydrological extremes and climate changes


Niko Wanders is university lecturer in Hydrology and is part of the Pathways to Sustainability research theme. His work focuses on extreme hydrological situations: not only how they affect society, but also how climate change affects how often these situations occur.

Niko is known as a keen science communicator and takes part in the public debate, on topics related to drought and climate change. Together with water managers and decision makers he explores the opportunities for seasonal forecasting and improved climate changes impact assessments of drought in the Netherlands and abroad. As part of his activities he brings together scientist and knowledge institutes to discuss ongoing drought research and stimulate a fast uptake of ongoing drought related research in society.


  • A NWO-VIDI grant in 2023, for research on the recovery from drought in the hydrological cycle and vegetation.
  • A ERC-Starting Grant in 2022, to study the drivers and impacts of multi-year droughts in atmosphere, vegetation and groundwater
  • The EGU Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Early Career Scientists in 2022 for his research on drought and climate change.
  • The AGU hydrological sciences early career award in 2020 for his research on climate change and its impacts on hydrology.
  • The KNAW early career award in 2020 for his groundbreaking research into the predictions of large-scale floods and droughts.
  • The UU Publiprice in 2019 for his contribution to the public debate, on topics related to drought and climate change.
  • The NWO-Vening Meinesz in 2018 for his research into the predictability into floods and droughts on weekly and seasonal timescales.
  • A NWO-VENI grant in 2017, to study the impacts of human reservoir management on drought in large-scale river basins.
  • A personal NWO-Rubicon fellowship in 2015 and developed a seasonal drought forecasting system as part of this Rubicon research at the Terrestrial Hydrology Research Group, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Princeton University, United States.

Niko Wanders was member of the Utrecht Young Academy between 2018 and 2023.