We are Deltares. A not-for-profit, world-leading, and mission-driven Dutch knowledge institute for water and the subsurface. We work throughout the world and we are guided by the major societal issues, for which Deltares' knowledge is indispensable. This is what drives our highly qualified workforce of 800 colleagues, which is comprised of over forty different nationalities.
Using applied research, we develop in-depth knowledge that is necessary and useful for decisions. By ensuring this knowledge is accessible to everyone, we help with innovative solutions.
Where do we make a difference? By building on the continuity of our knowledge base. As an important knowledge partner, we help the government, companies, and society. Together, we achieve our mission: Enabling Delta Life.
For more than a century, we have been working passionately to find answers to the burning question that drives our research: how can we keep our deltas, and coastal and river areas, safe, sustainable, and habitable - both now and in the future?
Our motivation is to find innovative solutions to societal issues for which Deltares' knowledge of water and the subsurface is indispensable.
Annemieke Nijhof, managing director
This question is more relevant and urgent than ever. That is also the case for policy- and decision-makers working for the Dutch government, water authorities, provincial authorities, commercial companies, universities, research institutes, NGOs, and our other international, partners.
Big challenges, such as climate change, sea level rise, land subsidence, salinisation, drought, and limited space, may require them to make far-reaching decisions; what should we tackle first and how should we go about it? Transitions in energy and agriculture, the circular economy, and sustainability can - and should - no longer be viewed separately in terms of their impact on ecosystems, biodiversity and human health. They require robust, innovative and integrated solutions.
Creating an impact on society using the power of our knowledge
That's where Deltares enters the picture. We want to create an impact on society using the power of our knowledge. That's why we don’t take our responsibility to support policy- and decision-makers lightly.
We consider water, the subsurface, and their infrastructure as a single system. This system is our starting point when analysing issues related to the current and future use of our living space. We combine this systemic perspective with in-depth, substantive and specialist knowledge.
We are constantly building on that knowledge, with innovation as a leading priority. For example, we develop models using our specialised software and state-of-the-art data products. That also involves studying the potential, and the limitations, of the application of artificial intelligence.
We also set up test arrays in our ultra-modern experimental facilities, allowing us to validate those models at unprecedented scales. We're also not afraid to put on our boots and head into muddy fields to carry out our research. We are, after all, a knowledge institute for applied research. We test our clients’ solutions to pressing issues to see whether those solutions really work in practice. This also lets us determine how they can be improved even further, so that they are cost-efficient and achieve the best possible result.
Deltares is a ‘top institute’ that is ‘unique in the world with its breadth and depth’. ‘Deltares has an excellent reputation in the international research world'.
Source: Evaluation study of organisations for applied research, 2021
With this knowledge and decades of experience, we provide our partners and clients with the keys to understanding complex issues relating to water and the subsurface. Deltares proposes innovative solutions, measures, and applications that are good for people, the environment, and society.
Naturally, we view all the proposals we make through the lens of global climate agreements and a number of specific sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted by the Dutch government, the EU ,and the United Nations. This is where we can maximise the added value we deliver.
Corporate social responsibility and inclusion for more impact
We practise what we preach. Our ambitions for corporate social responsibility, as formulated in the Strategic Agenda 2022-2025, are crystal clear:
- We want to execute our consultancy projects in such a way that we can also determine the impact of projects on the climate and the SDGs, and minimise the negative effects.
- We also aim to minimise the impact of our work on the climate. For example by making our campus in Delft climate-neutral and offsetting carbon emissions from air travel. We do this by executing projects at our own expense that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
We still have some way to go, but we are continuing to take steps on a day-to-day basis to achieve these ambitions.
At Deltares, we also that we can have most impact on people, the environment, and society if we work in an inclusive and diverse way. A diverse and inclusive team is better able to share knowledge and perspectives, and to further project results, and innovative and creative team performances.
To include those different perspectives, we are creating a workforce that is diverse in terms of gender, age, experience, and background. This is reflected as much as possible in the diverse make-up of teams for projects and consultancy, allowing us to create better relationships with our partners, clients, and stakeholders. In this way, we can successfully contribute together to a sustainable impact on society.
Dare to share: finding solutions together
All the knowledge from our assignments and projects, regardless of the source of funding, contributes to the continuity of our knowledge base. We therefore seize the opportunity afforded by every research question from clients to generate new knowledge. We acknowledge and respect the power of co-creation that stems from our cooperation with others.
We are acutely aware that the challenges of our times cannot be tackled alone. Our 'dare to share' philosophy means that we share our garnered knowledge. At Deltares, we are convinced that an open source approach delivers opportunities to do things even better and to learn from one another.
Deltares works at the crossroads of practice and science, public and private, and knowledge and the market. Partners regard us as an authority in the domains of water and the subsurface. We don't take for granted the role that others increasingly give to us. To be fair, this is also a role that suits us down to the ground: that of a guide in a complex playing field of stakeholders. Today’s choices may be irreversible for life in tomorrow’s deltas. We are aware of how much that work is needed; we are reaching the limits of what we may have taken for granted for too long.
The knowledge, scenarios, and integrated solutions we create make us the leading experts in terms of nurturing and stimulating the public debate at an early stage. We do this by using the relevant knowledge and cutting-edge research on a range of topics such as accelerated sea level rise. But we also listen to the concerns, with empathy for the uncertainties involved.
We do more than simply warn, we see it as our role to facilitate that dialogue with all stakeholders. Using our knowledge as a solid foundation, we want to help provide a direction that does justice to the major issues facing society.
We work in a mission-driven way
We have concretised our ambitions and challenging goals and put them in so-called ‘moonshots’:
- Deltas remain habitable, even in the context of two metres of sea level rise, land subsidence and climate change
- Making the world’s population safer from flooding
- Resilient and healthy water systems for people and nature in 2030
- In 2030, energy from water and subsurface will account for 75% of the energy required for sustainable collective heating system
- By 2040, infrastructure construction, replacement and maintenance will be fully resilient
Our mission-driven work is linked to the dossiers where we want to provide leadership and achieve societal impact in the years ahead. We work where knowledge of water and the subsurface makes the difference in the major challenges and transitions. It also provides focus for the building of strategic partnerships with our contacts, clients, and knowledge partners. The Dutch government is, and will remain, our most important client and knowledge partner.
We work with all government authorities in the Netherlands, including local and provincial governments, water authorities, and the national government. As an important knowledge partner, we collaborate with them, not only in the Netherlands from our offices in Delft and Utrecht, but also in the rest of the world.
Deltares works in the Netherlands, Europe, North and South America, Oceania, Asia, and Africa. We have forged a number of important strategic and enduring partnerships. Our goal is to continue strengthening them, while forging new ones so that we can learn, innovate, and create impact together.
We are proud to be Deltares and to have the opportunity to continue ‘Enabling Delta Life’, so that future generations will also have a home that is safe, sustainable, and habitable.