Climate & Environment

AXA Chairs


AXA Chair on Water Quality and Global Change

Rivers, lakes, and aquifers are the lifeblood of our planet. They sustain ecosystems, deliver clean water, support agriculture, regulate our climate, and preserve biodiversity. Yet, we're dangerously underestimating the urgent threat of water contamination in a global change context. This neglect has far-reaching consequences, jeopardizing public health, ecological stability, economic resilience, food security, and environmental justice. The time for action is now, and the urgency cannot be overstated.

Water contamination within the context of global change is a pressing concern that arises from the intricate interplay of climate change, large urbanization, industrialization, and shifting land use patterns. Addressing this issue requires comprehensive strategies that encompass monitoring, comprehensive management tools and effective water policy developments.

Led by Professor Ann van Griensven, the AXA Chair on Water Quality and Global Change is implementing three essential research initiatives to address global water pollution challenges amid changing circumstances. Firstly, it acknowledges the pressing need for water quality monitoring, given the significant disparities in data availability worldwide. Closing this data gap is not a choice; it's a moral imperative to comprehend the condition of our water bodies and ensure environmental justice. The chair is dedicated to advancing data collection methods with citizen involvement and exploring cost-effective technologies such as remote sensing. Secondly, water quality modeling is indispensable for preserving water resources, guiding decision-making, and addressing environmental issues. These models enable us to predict water quality parameters, identify pollution sources, and safeguard ecosystem services. The AXA Chair aims to develop regional water quality models and a global water quality model. Thirdly, effective research communication is vital for translating theory into actionable decisions. It bridges the gap between scientists and policymakers, creating accessible reports and equipping decision-makers with robust evidence. It also enhances the applicability of scientific findings by adapting them to local contexts and involving stakeholders.

Learn more on the AXA Chair on the Water Quality and Global Change

Watch the Video

Ann Van


Vrije Universiteit Brussel