At the fourth National Delta Congress, the prestigious American Franz Edelman Award was handed out to the Dutch consortium who won the award in April 2013 in Texas for the project ‘Economically Efficient Flood Standards to Protect the Netherlands against Flooding’.
In the presence of Minister Schultz van Haegen, Anne Robinson, the President of the American institute INFORMS, gave the award to the team. The consortium developed a new calculation method which is used in the context of the Delta Programme for determining the economically optimal levels of protection against flooding in the Netherlands.
“By using the method in the Delta Programme, it is possible to deliver major economies on the costs of keeping the Netherlands safe in the future”, explains Jarl Kind of Deltares, “While making considerable reductions in the flood risk’. ‘The method identifies the area where investing in more protection delivers the best returns. These are generally areas exposed to deep flooding: the areas bordering the large rivers and in the vicinity of Rotterdam and Almere”.
The consortium developed and used the new calculation method to calculate the optimal dike heights for protecting the Netherlands against flooding, while minimising the costs of investment in dikes and the costs associated with damage. The method can be used throughout the world to determine the optimal dike heights for flood protection. Jarl Kind is the project leader of the winning consortium which, in addition to Deltares, consisted of the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), HKV Consultancy, the Delft University of Technology, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and the Delta Commissioner’s staff team. Deltares carried out the analyses for the project and drafted the final report ‘Social cost/benefit analysis for the 21st century’, which was completed in 2011.
The Delta Commissioner, Wim Kuijken, thinks the award is an enormous honour that will have a major impact: “This innovative project contributed in a unique way to enhancing flood protection for our country, and it is playing an important role in the Delta Programme. The award puts the Netherlands even more firmly on the map as a flood protection expert. My compliments to the researchers and to the principal, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.”
The Franz Edelman Award is granted annually by the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, INFORMS, an international scientific society with members who include Nobel laureates. INFORMS established the Award to put the spotlight on the field of Operations Research, where mathematical techniques and models are used to improve or optimise organisational processes.
The projects nominated for the Award have a major impact on society, industry or business. There are two requirements for the Award: the research must make a very important scientific contribution, and also be actually used in practice, generating major added value for society.
Press Release, November 8, 2013