Bas Borsje receives Veni grant for Building with Nature study ‘Soft and still safe’

Published: 22 July 2015

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research has awarded the prestigious Veni grant to Bas Borsje's Building with Nature research proposal ‘Soft and still safe’. Over the next four years, he will be teaming up with fellow experts from Deltares and Ecoshape to look at the stability of salt marshes during storms. The knowledge acquired will contribute to the development of soft forebanks throughout the world. This approach mitigates wave impact and enhances flood risk management.

Building with Nature is a promising approach to coastal protection that is gaining more and more international ground in preference to the traditional construction of dikes and dams. The approach helps to make coastal areas and economic development climate-robust. Bas Borsje can’t wait to get to work: ‘I’m really looking forward to contributing a solution to one of the main challenges of the years to come:
keeping the Netherlands safe and inhabitable. I feel privileged that I will be working with people from a range of renowned research institutes, while developing my expertise in this new and fascinating research field.’

Bas is no newcomer to Building with Nature solutions: he was involved in, for example, work on the Sand Motor and he was also part of the team of Deltares colleagues involved in recovery projects after hurricanes Katherina and Sandy in the USA.

Excellent research proposal

The Veni grant is given to scientists who have recently completed their doctorates and who have ‘a striking and original talent, and a major fascination with challenging and pioneering research’. The grant comes with a sum of €250,000 that will allow Bas to spend most of his time over the next four years on investments in the ‘Soft and still safe’ study.

Another cause for celebration is that this proposal was the only one in the 12 (out of 95) proposals from the Technical Sciences that was described as excellent by the jury, and so it was first in the ranking.
During the study, Bas will be based at the Water Engineering and Management Department of the University of Twente, the department led by Professor Suzanne Hulscher, and research institute Deltares.