Rutgerd Boelens receives prestigious ERC Grant with excellent evalutations

Published on
December 10, 2020

It’s with great pleasure to announce that Rutgerd Boelens of the chair group Water Resources Management has been granted the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant, EU H2020, for his project proposal RIVERHOOD - Living Rivers and the New Water Justice Movements: From Dominating Waterscapes to the Rights of Nature.

Besides it being such a great achievement it also received positive evaluations: all “excellent” to “exceptional”. The chair Water Resources Management is proud of Prof Rutgerd Boelens, and also congratulates the core team members of RIVERHOOD with this achievement: Dr Jeroen Vos and PhD candidate Lena Hommes.

About the project

RIVERHOOD addresses one of the most pressing sustainability problems of our times, the adequate provision and use of water. It will study the implications of diverse river vitalisation institutions and practices, among others, giving rivers a right. The focus will be on socio-institutional, cultural and political aspects; with a critical and highly innovative perspective of environmental justice. And it addresses serious knowledge gaps within research on water governance.

The RIVERHOOD project will seek to change the academic water governance discipline and deepen political ecology inter-disciplines (including rural sociology, anthropology, geography, and territorial studies) by providing new conceptual instruments. It will make an internationally valid contribution to ‘riverhood’ at multiple scale levels, and how new social movements may enhance ‘water justice’ and ‘knowledge co-creation’ on sustainable governance, across Europe (Netherlands and Spain) and Latin America (Ecuador and Colombia).


Prof Rutgerd Boelens emphasizes trans-disciplinary collaboration with grassroots organisations, activists, policy-makers and academics, and recognises the important support of his fellows at the Water Resources Management group, in particular his project collaborators Dr Jeroen Vos and PhD candidate Lena Hommes.

The grant covers four fully funded PhDs, a postdoc, staff-time, and among multiple science-with-society activities, the means to interactively develop global and trans-local ‘Environmental Justice Labs’ which will have an important impact beyond riverine studies. The total grant is 2 million euros starting in Spring 2021.