IAH-NL MSc Thesis Prize (PSSP 2020)

Pieter Stuyfzand Scriptie Prijs 2020: Results

The board of The Netherlands Chapter of IAH is pleased to inform you that the MSc theses, submitted for the first-ever Pieter Stuyfzand Scriptie Prijs (PSSP), have now been evaluated. The topics of the considered theses varied strikingly, representing the wide topical breadth of research focus in the Netherlands across the different institutions active in the groundwater field. Also the presented research approaches used varied widely, from modelling to field work-based and from local to basin scale. Outstanding MSc theses by four young researchers were finally considered for winning the 2020 edition of the prize. Along with the strong recommendations by their MSc supervisors, these 4 theses are therefore worthy of an honorable mention by IAH NL as they stood out as a clear example of the high level of ongoing hydrogeological research in the Netherlands. Several of the other honorably mentioned MSc studies are as a matter of fact currently being prepared for submission to a scientific journal.

PSSP 2020 Honorable mentions

The extensive complex 3D hydrogeological model study on simulating land subsidence by Bente Lexmond (Utrecht University) focused on the uncertainty associated with aquitard layer discretization and aquifer horizontal hydraulic conductivity, in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. The thesis illustrates the increased relevance and insights that can be gained when linking hydrogeology to other fields, in this case geomechanics.

The field-based research by Chen Lester Reñon Wu (IHE Delft) related the occurrence and hydrochemistry of fresh water lenses in a saline groundwater environment to their recharge origin and hydrogeological setting. The research relied on the collection of an impressive number of groundwater samples using detailed isotopic and hydrogeochemical analysis for the whole of Delft Island (Sri Lanka). With a solid interpretation, including the use of the famed Stuyfzand water type classification, the study is believed to provide a valuable contribution for the sustainable fresh water management of the island.

Of an explorative nature was the research performed by Titus Kruijssen (WUR). He explored novel applications of temperature-depth data in groundwater research to determine hydraulic properties of aquitards, illustrating the relevance and need for innovation on such fundamental aspects in hydrogeology to determine flow patterns in groundwater systems. It is believed that the presented innovative types of hydrogeological characterization are critical to support the use of ever increasing complexity of numerical groundwater modelling, such as shown also by Bente Lexmond’s research.

The relevance of hydrogeological research to advance the sustainable energy transition was highlighted by the thorough modelling study performed by Rogier Duijff (TU Delft) who quantified the positive and negative thermal interaction between aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) systems. The insights developed from his very structured approach, and analysis of the modelling results in terms of thermal and hydrogeologic performance will help guide the optimal integration of the steadily increasing number of ATES systems in the urban subsurface.


Winner PSSP 2020

Pleased with the high level of the above mentioned MSc theses, the IAH NL board had the task to determine the first-ever recipient of the Pieter Stuyfzand Scriptie Prijs. Despite the difficulty of this task, after careful deliberation, it became clear that Rogier Duijff’s MSc thesis showed the highest level overall with respect to writing style, conciseness and relevance. He has been therefore awarded  the PSSP 2020. We therefore congratulate Rogier Duijff, and look forward to him presenting his thesis work during the a special IAH webinar with the topic “Groundwater’s Role in Sustainable Heating and Cooling”. This webinar will take place on the 16th of April 2021 between 16:00 and 17:00.