• Room 8A-01, NU-building

  • Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), De Boelelaan 1111

    1081 HV Amsterdam

Personal profile

Personal information

Marthe Wens is an Assistant Professor in the Water and Climate Risk group. Her research concerns water security and societal impacts, with a specific focus on simulating the intertwined nature of drought risk and human adaptive behaviour. Most of her work focuses on Europe or Africa, and on agricultural droughts, but recently her work is broader and includes drought impacts on other sectors (e.g. ecosystems) and aspects of society (e.g. children, migration). She investigates the use of agent-based modelling and machine learning tools to create global, national, and local drought profiles to support disaster risk reduction efforts and is working on a project to enable the co-creation of green adaptation pathways to mitigate drought and flood risk.
She is a climate activist, nature-lover and enjoys working on climate resilience projects together with partner institutes from the Global South.


2016: Master of Science in Geography, Major Earth & Climate studies,
Minor: GIS and Spatial Modelling

(KU Leuven and VUB Brussels, Belgium)

Wens, M. (2016). Cost-benefit evaluation of soil and water conservation techniques in Tigray.
MSc thesis including 3 months fieldwork executing Choice Experiment and SWC surveys on field


Marthe is developing a socio-hydrologic agent-based model to simulate how the intertwined human-nature might evolve under given governance (i.e. socioeconomic situation), culture (i.e. farmers’ risk perception) and infrastructure (i.e. access to index-based insurance products), while explicitly including the emergent decision behaviour of stakeholders (i.e. of smallholder farmers). By modelling water security and food production as the outcome of a coupled human-natural system that accounts for human adaptability to external drivers, predictions about the impact of future droughts on agriculture can be improved. Besides, the model will be able to evaluate viable drought risk mitigation solutions that address short-term and long-term water scarcity challenges hence can serve as a support tool for the development of strategic drought risk management.

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Ancillary activities

2016 – Jan 2017: Monitoring and Evaluation Intern International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Amman, Jordan.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Academic qualification

Geography; Major Earth & Climate studies, Minor: GIS and Spatial Modelling, Master, Cost-benefit evaluation of soil and water conservation techniques in Tigray. M.Sc. thesis including 3 months fieldwork executing Choice Experiment and SWC surveys on field, KU Leuven

Award Date: 30 Jun 2016


  • Q Science
  • Geography
  • Human-Environment interactions
  • GIS
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Soil and Water Conservation
  • Sustainable Land management
  • Community based field research
  • Project monitoring and evaluation
  • project management assistance


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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