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The Unesco IHE building in Delft.

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, formerly known as UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world and is based in Delft, Netherlands. The Institute confers fully accredited MSc degrees, and PhD degrees in collaboration with partners in the Netherlands, since 1957 the Institute has provided graduate education to more than 15,000 water professionals from over 160 countries.

IHE Delft was formerly known as UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, which was created in 2003 from the previous IHE, this in turn was established from the International Course in Hydraulic Engineering (set up in 1957). This name changed to International Institute for Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (IHE) in 1976.[1]

IHE Delft is instrumental in the strengthening of efforts by other universities and research centres in increasing knowledge and skills of professionals working in the water sector, the knowledge and services of IHE Delft in human and institutional capacity-building are vital to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 6 (providing access to clean water and sanitation).

IHE Delft carries out three types of activities that complement and reinforce each other in the broad field of water engineering, water management, environment, sanitation, and governance, its core activities are education, research, and capacity building, with additional functions including:

  • Offering education, training, and research;
  • Providing capacity development services, particularly for developing countries;
  • Setting up and managing international networks of educational and water sector institutions and organizations;
  • Serving as a policy forum for UNESCO Member States and other stakeholders;
  • Providing professional expertise and advice on water education; and
  • Playing a leadership role in international standard setting for postgraduate water education programmes and continuing professional education.

Subjects taught at the institute:

  • Coastal engineering and port development
  • Hydroinformatics - modelling and information systems for water management
  • Flood Risk Management
  • Urban Water Engineering and Management
  • Sanitation

Since its inception in 1957, the Institute has provided postgraduate education to numerous professionals (engineers and scientists) almost entirely from developing/transitional countries, from over 160 countries, it has also graduated over 100 PhD candidates and executed numerous research and capacity development projects throughout the world. Many of the alumni have reached senior positions in their home countries upon return and remain key links in the global water network.

IHE Delft is a partner institute of the National SENSE Research School [2], as an accredited institution, staff and students are now expected to follow the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice [3]


Coordinates: 52°00′31″N 4°21′25″E / 52.00861°N 4.35694°E / 52.00861; 4.35694