Erasmus+ JMD Programme in Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation (GroundwatCH)

February 15, 2022

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Location (s):

  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
Dresden, Delft, Lisbon


TU Dresden, University of Lisbon and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education offer the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Programme in Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation (acronym GroundwatCH), which starts in September 2022.


As the largest liquid freshwater reservoir on earth, groundwater has both a huge environmental and economic value, and will be an essential resource for adaptation to climate change and reduction of socio-economic vulnerability, particularly in regions where freshwater availability is highly variable and frequently limited.

Several factors foster the need for a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary educational groundwater programme.

First, groundwater is a component of the water cycle interacting with all other components at various temporal and spatial scales.

Second, groundwater systems are largely interdependent with socio-economic development. The presence of important and productive aquifers can boost socio-economic development and alleviate poverty in low-income countries by providing water for public supply and sustainable irrigation, increasing (environmental-friendly) land use efficiency.

On the other hand, the continuous growth of the world population and the socio-economic development of many countries has already caused, and will continue to cause, large impacts on freshwater (including groundwater) systems through uncontrolled exploitation, causing depletion, seawater intrusion, reduction in baseflows in rivers and ecological flows sustaining freshwater ecosystems, or land subsidence. 

Third, climate change is foreseen to affect freshwater availability globally, with several hotspots, among which many areas that currently already suffer periods of severe droughts and freshwater scarcity, such as the Mediterranean area of southern Europe and Northern Africa, northeast China, northern and south-western Latin America, large parts of Australia and the western United States, among others. Fourth, important feedback mechanisms exist between groundwater (and its use), climate and global change, which vary in time and space.

The existence of groundwater at shallow depths for instance has a large influence on processes occurring in the atmospheric boundary layer, whereas lateral groundwater flow towards rivers and wetlands sustains surface moisture levels that feed back into the regional climate. Groundwater-supported evapotranspiration can significantly contribute to the overall water balance, whereas groundwater-fed irrigation increases evapotranspiration rates overall, possibly affect the precipitation regime.

GroundwatCH seeks to offer a distinctive curriculum built on the cornerstones of hydro(geo)logy, climatology, impacts and adaptation, within a framework of human pressures, global change and feedbacks, around the following academic focal areas:​

  • Hydrogeology;
  • Groundwater data collection, interpretation and modelling;
  • Climate processes and modelling;
  • Groundwater-surface water-climate interactions;
  • Integrated river basin and water resources management;
  • Groundwater and environmental impacts;
  • Groundwater, society and policies;
  • Groundwater in adaptation to global change.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain in detail how groundwater systems function;
  2. Describe the interactions between groundwater systems, climate, surface waters and land use;
  3. Use modelling tools for climate and groundwater systems;
  4. Identify the consequences of global and climate change impacts for groundwater management under uncertainty;
  5. Plan groundwater-related adaptation solutions for global change.
  6. Specific Learning Objectives of the Course

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

The Joint Master Programme in Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation has the following admission requirements:

A. Proof that the applicant has successfully accomplished a first degree of higher education equivalent to a B.Sc. degree (equivalent to 180 credit points according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)) with a good final mark as shown by a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least B/B+ (US System) or a classification of at least 2nd upper (UK system), in one of the following subjects: geologic, hydraulic, civil, environmental or agricultural engineering, geosciences, environmental sciences, climate sciences, geography, geology, or any other similar subject.​

Note A.1 Applications may already be submitted before the first degree of higher education (usually B.Sc.) has been successfully finished, if at least 120 ECTS of the programme have been successfully completed. If the applicant meets all of the other admission requirements, admission can be granted on the condition that the first degree of higher education must be successfully finished by 15 August preceding to the start year of the programme.

B. Evidence of qualification in one of the internationally-recognised English language tests. More information on the English language requirements can be found here.


Deadline: February 15, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

What do EMJMD Scholarships include?


  • the students' participation costs (including the tuition fee, library and laboratory costs, full insurance coverage and any other mandatory costs related to the students' participation in the Master);

  • a contribution to student travel and installation costs;

  • a monthly subsistence allowance for the entire duration of the EMJMD study programme.

The contribution to student travel and installation costs (see below) and the monthly subsistence allowance (see below) depend on the place of residence of a scholarship holder. In order to decide if you are eligible for a partner or programme country scholarship, you need to submit a residence certificate. ​

  • Residence certificate.  In order to verify your place of residence, you need to submit a residence certificate with your application for admission.  You can use for example:

    • A residence certificate issued in accordance with the candidate's municipality normal registration rules;

    • A certificate from your place of work issued by your employer, which shows in which country you have been working.​

    • A certificate from your study or training issued by the institution in question. E.g. if you have been studying the year before the application scholarship application deadline, you may upload a transcript.

    • The residence certificate must have been issued within 12 months before the submission deadline of applying for an EMJMD student scholarship (15 February)

In detail:

 ​Contribution to the travel and installation costs

  • 1000 EUR per year per scholarship holder resident of a programme country for travel costs

  • 2000 EUR per year for travel costs + 1000 EUR for installation costs for scholarship holder resident of a partner country whose location is situated at less than 4.000 km from IHE Delft, The Netherlands

  • 3000 EUR per year for travel costs + 1000 EUR for installation costs for scholarship holder resident of a partner country whose location is situated at 4.000 km  or more from IHE Delft, The Netherlands

The contribution to the travel and installation costs takes into account ONLY the residence of the scholarship holder (regardless of the category under which the student has been enrolled). A unit cost per academic year and a distance band of 4.000 km applies to any student resident in a Partner Country (including students with a Programme Country nationality). Students resident of a Programme Country (including students with a Partner Country nationality) are covered by a fixed unit cost of 1 000 EUR per academic year. The following distance calculator will be used to calculate the correct distance from the scholarship holders’ city of residence to IHE Delft in The Netherlands:

A contribution to installation costs is offered only to students resident in a Partner Country

(1 000 EUR per intake). It is an incentive to help covering the additional costs related to the issuing of visas, residence permits, etc. as well as the temporary accommodation needs upon arrival in the first Programme Country (Portugal) and the subsequent mobility trajectories. 

Contribution to subsistence costs

Contribution to subsistence costs 1 000 EUR per month for the entire duration of the EMJMD study programme (up to 24 months maximum).


Contribution to subsistence costs are:

  • neither given to scholarship holders for the EMJMD periods (study/research/placement/thesis preparation) spent in their country of residence;

  • nor to scholarship holders from a Partner Country for the EMJMD periods exceeding three months (indicatively the equivalent of 15 ECTS credits) spent in any Partner Country. 

Important note:

Only students who have not received previous Erasmus MSc or PhD mobility grants may apply for a scholarship 

Full details of the EMJMD scholarships and the rules are mentioned in the Erasmus+ website.

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