ITC’s 200th PhD Student Graduates Cum Laude


On 16 February 2012, Yijian Zeng defended his PhD thesis Coupled Dynamics in Soil: understanding the transport mechanisms of liquid water, water vapor, air pressure and heat by field experiments and numerical simulation. He received his Doctors degree Cum Laude.

Dr Yijian Zeng 200th PhD Graduate

Dr Yijian Zeng became a PhD student at the ITC Faculty of the University of Twente, under a joint-cooperation project supported by ITC, CUGB (China University of Geosciences (Beijing)) and CAREERI (Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, China Academy of Sciences). His study focused on understanding coupled mechanism in soil, using field observations and numerical simulations. In 2007, with a control sand bunker experiment, he indicated how the thermal or isothermal soil moisture fluxes can alternatively dominate in soil on a daily scale. After that (2008), he designed and conducted a field experiment in the Badain Jaran Desert, located in the Northwestern China. With the detailed observation of micrometeorological and soil physical parameters, he assessed how much precipitation evaporated and how much was conserved in the sand, which could be used to evaluate the water sources for desert plants.

With the analysis of the experiments mentioned above, he realized that single-phase transport mechanism of the classic theory cannot explain the discrepancy between model estimates and field observations of the vapor fluxes in soil. To overcome this, he developed a two-phase heat and mass transport model to consider vapor transport with diffusion, advection and dispersion mechanisms (2009). The results show that the newly developed model outperforms the traditional theory in calculating surface evaporation with regard to the comparison with the field observations (2010). To further explain why the newly developed model is better than the traditional model, he conducted an insightful investigation on the driving forces in the two models and explained the difference between the two models mechanically (2010). Furthermore, in order to understand how a changing climate can affect patterns of evaporation at a regional scale, he combined the newly developed model with data assimilation technique to retrieve soil moisture and temperature profiles (2011). His research resulted in a Doctors degree Cum Laude.

First PhD graduate

On 6 February 1990, Dr Joseph Akinyede from Nigeria became the first PhD graduate at ITC. Dr Akinyede was director of NASRDA (National Space Research and Development Agency) in Nigeria. NASRDA was established by the Nigerian government to implement the National Space Policy and Programme. NASRDA carries out research and development in space science and technology for the sustainable socio-economic development of Nigeria. This includes the building and launching satellites and space application support for sustainable development programmes. Dr Akinyede left NASRDA in 2003 to make the transfer from space to education by becoming director of the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English Language.

100th PhD graduate

On 4 June 2003, José Laurindo Campos dos Santos from Brazil became the 100th research student of ITC to be awarded a PhD. His thesis entitled A biodiversity information system in an open data - metadatabase architecture comprises his investigation into the development and implementation of a new database architecture that can meet the specific demands of biosciences (a biodiversity information system in an open data/metadatabase architecture). After his graduation Dr Campos dos Santos worked at INPA (National Institute for Amazon Research) in Brazil where he became involved in the Institutes activities in building up an SDI for scientific data exchange within the Amazon basin.

previous page
more news

  1. Home »
  2. Organisation »