IHE Delft's international policy

The vision statement of IHE Delft illustrates the Institute's international orientation: IHE Delft envisages a world in which people manage their water and environmental resources in a sustainable manner, and in which all sectors of society, particularly the poor, can enjoy the benefits of basic services. Whilst IHE Delft is prominently involved in education and research on the Delft premises, it is also instrumental in partnering with other universities and research centers throughout the world.

The member states of UNESCO (190+ member states on all continents) have access to the knowledge and services of IHE Delft, which is vital in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Agenda 21 and other global water objectives.

It is IHE Delft's mandate to let member states benefit from knowledge and experiences gained in water management in the different countries and on the different continents. The main beneficiaries are water sector professionals and organizations in developing countries and countries in transition. However, water issues are today complex and often have a global perspective. It is therefore that the Institute aims at cooperating with partner universities around the world, including Europe, North-America and the Global South to develop relevant joint education and research programmes. IHE Delft's partners in education typically have an international orientation, offer accredited postgraduate education, and have established research capacities in fields related to water and the environment. The partner universities are selected based on their qualities, and offer additional benefits to the network, either because their geographical location improves the access of certain target groups to the education programmes, or because they have complementary expertise which allows for the development of unique academic programmes.

IHE Delft offers second and third cycle academic education. At present, some 40% of the MSc student population of IHE Delft is enrolled in a joint programme offered with one or more partners in Europe and/or elsewhere. The strategy is to further increase the number of students in these joint modalities and to intensify the cooperation with partners by transforming a number of the existing multiple degree programmes into joint degree programmes.

IHE Delft is by excellence a place where student transit. Each individual has obtained a Bachelor degree elsewhere before moving to Delft. The target audience is almost 100% foreign, with less than 1% Dutch participants.

After enrollment at IHE Delft, mobility is further encouraged in the second cycle through the various joint MSc programmes.

The motivation for IHE Delft to invest in joint MSc programmes is multifold:

  • The worldwide demand for excellent water education is huge. IHE Delft increases its impact by teaming up with partners
  • More relevant water-related topics can be covered by partnering with universities that have complementary expertise
  • Joint programmes enrich the learning experience of the students through exposure to different cultures, learning practices, solutions in the field, and allow students to build an international network of peers
  • Split programmes can facilitate the access to water education for certain groups that cannot afford a full study in Europe
  • Delivery of joint programmes is a proven mechanism to maintain professional relations with partner organizations. It stimulates mobility of students and staff

Concerning the third cycle, IHE Delft always implements its PhD programme in partnership with universities that have the right to grant doctoral degrees according to their national legislation. A majority of the PhD fellows is enrolled in a so called sandwich programme. Part of the studies are carried-out in Delft, and part of the work is done in the researcher's home country or region. This is done to stimulate research that is relevant to the development of the (mostly Southern) region and as a mechanism to involve foreign universities in the research and thus develop a common knowledge platform.

The present educational partners of IHE Delft are located in all regions of the world. A majority are situated in Europe, followed by partnerships in Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America. The Northern partners predominently contribute to the knowledge base of the network, whereas the Southern partners also bring in region-specific cases, add to the developmental relevance of the studies, and benefit from the cooperation through staff exchanges and joint research.

The strategy of the Institute to invest in joint second cycle education has resulted in the development of a substantial number of double, multiple and even joint degree programmes. As per the academic period starting in October 2013, there will be 34 delivery options of the different MSc programme specializations.

Institution's strategy for the organisation and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects in teaching and training in relation to projects implemented under the Erasmus Programme.

The Erasmus Mundus cooperation schemes in the second and third cycle are an important activity of IHE Delft. The Erasmus Mundus facility has enabled the Institute to look for synergies in water education and research in Europe and has resulted in the following innovative programmes:

  • MSc programme in Flood Risk Management
  • MSc programme in Ecohydrology
  • MSc programme in Environmental Technology and Engineering
  • PhD programme in Environmental Technologies for Contaminated Solids, Soils and Sediments

These programme complement the joint MSc programmes with partners that are located predominantly outside Europe.

Examples of these programmes are:

  • MSc in Limnology and Wetlands Management (with BOKU, Austria, and Egerton, Kenya)
  • MSc in Urban Water Engineering and Management (with AIT, Thailand)
  • MSc in Sanitary Engineering (with UniValle, Colombia)
  • MSc in Water Supply Engineering (with KNUST, Ghana)

For IHE Delft, partnering with European institutions through the Erasmus schemes is a mechanism to reach out to UNESCO member states in Europe, and to facilitate the linkage between these European institutions and academic partners outside Europe. This bridging function (facilitating exchange of knowledge and experiences in water management among nations) is an important component of the mandate that the Institute received from UNESCO. IHE Delft's strong networks in the water sector of many countries makes the Institute an attractive partner to European institutions with an international ambition.

The mobility of IHE Delft staff is big. Due to its funding base, the Institute is an active player in competitive tenders and calls for proposals. 30% of the Institute's income is generated through projects. Most of these projects have training and educational components, and many include research. While a majority of the projects are still sponsored by the Netherlands Government, the importance of the European Community programmes is increasing.

Expected impact of participation in the Programme on the modernisation of IHE Delft

IHE Delft participates in the Erasmus program as this has a very positive impact on the quality of the Delft based and joint programs. The influx of young motivated students of the joint programs mixing with the Delft based programs works very motivating and stimulating. The number of students leaving with an MSc degree is nearly 95%. Most of them return home and will find a position very soon or will be promoted to a higher position.

The Delft based and the joint water programs of IHE Delft are aimed at developing countries and countries in transition. All programs of IHE Delft and its partners are aimed at strengthening the capacity of water the sector professionals. Water problems do not stop at country borders. International fieldtrips in- and outside Europe are part of all programs and confront the students with solutions of various water problems. The institute maintains close ties with companies in the water sector in Europe and the rest of the world. Guest lecturers from water companies are invited to give courses on the latest technologies, and research work for the water sector is carried out by staff and student.

The institute stimulates life-long learning by offering a mix of possibilities; flexible learning paths with each program, short and online courses, open course ware via our website, and tailor-made courses.

The Erasmus program has stimulated the institute to develop high quality joint programs, based on well described MoU's, cooperation agreements and operational procedures. New programs are developed according to this same structure.

Experience has learned that sponsors and donors are very willing to pay for these type of programs as it stimulates brain circulation and leads to positive results.

Erasmus+ Charter

The Erasmus+ programme supports, among other policy objectives, the European modernisation and internationalisation agenda in higher education. The Programme covers the period 2014-2020.

The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) provides the general quality framework for European and international cooperation activities a higher education institution (HEI) may carry out within the Programme.

The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education 2014-2020 is awarded to IHE Delft in 2014:

Erasmus Charter Document


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