Press Releases

Institute and UNO awarded National Science Foundation grant to support graduate student study in the Netherlands

NEW ORLEANS, La. (May 12, 2021) – A National Science Foundation grant to The Water Institute of the Gulf and the University of New Orleans will support more than 50 United States and European graduate students for their attendance at a two-week intensive modeling and water management training in the Netherlands.

The National Science Foundation awarded $399,718 to a partnership between University of New Orleans and the Water Institute to lead 13 U.S. graduate students each year over three years in an intensive modeling, fieldwork and flume laboratory water management training. Up to 14 European graduate students will also be selected for the program each year to encourage and deepen international conversations around water management. Other partners in the program include Deltares, Delft University of Technology and Utrecht University.

“Water management needs, whether facing the challenge of too much water from flooding or needing to meet the demands of agriculture, industry, power generation, consumption and seafood production, continue to grow,” said Matthew Tarr, Eurofins Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of New Orleans. “Consequently, a critical and unmet need exists for building a workforce that is capable of effectively addressing these imminent threats.”

Five days of the course are planned in an interactive workshop setting at Deltares, an independent institute for applied research around water, where students will learn to use the Delft3D numerical modeling software to simulate the flow of water and sediment in coastal and estuarine settings. Two days are planned for the students to develop and conduct complimentary experiments in hydraulic laboratory flumes at Utrecht University. Another two days are planned for field trips to relevant coastal sites in the Netherlands. A final day is set aside for students to compile the results of their modeling work into poster presentations that will be displayed and discussed on the final afternoon.

“Participants in this project will gain important training, make connections with in-service professionals and receive an important set of experimental and modeling skills that will allow them to serve the U.S. and world communities as water management experts,” said Christopher Esposito, research scientist at the Water Institute. “This is a great project to strengthen the Institute’s ties with University of New Orleans as well as our collective partnerships with Deltares and Dutch universities.”

The program will integrate classroom training, field site visits and hands-on instruction in numerical modeling techniques using Delft3D and flume lab experiments to develop maximum competency of the participants. U.S. participants will be recruited from a broad range of interdisciplinary graduate programs that are aligned with water management.

“This partnership between the University of New Orleans and The Water Institute serves as a great example of the vision for establishing the UNO Research and Technology Park: to create an environment for collaborations between UNO and our tenants like The Water Institute,” said Rebecca Conwell, President and CEO of the UNO Research & Technology Foundation. “We are pleased to support this project and believe it is the perfect example of what we’d like all tenants to model.”

Photos of field trip sites available here.

About The Water Institute of the Gulf

The Water Institute is an independent, non-profit, applied research institution advancing science and developing integrated methods to solve complex environmental and societal challenges. The Institute helps communities thoughtfully prepare for an uncertain future. For more information, visit

About the University of New Orleans

The University of New Orleans (UNO) is a major research university in one of the world’s most fascinating cities. For more than 60 years, it has been one of the city’s foremost public resources, offering a diverse set of world-class, research-based programs, advancing shared knowledge and adding to the city’s industry, culture and economy. Since 1958, UNO has educated students from all 64 Louisiana parishes, all 50 states in the United States and more than 140 countries. Today UNO offers more than 40 undergraduate and pre-professional programs and more than 40 graduate programs. For more information, visit