Wouter Botzen is director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit (VU), Amsterdam, which has >150 staff members and PhDs. IVM is the oldest multidisciplinary environmental research institute in the Netherlands, and one of the world's leading institutes in sustainability science. His previous positions include being deputy head of the Department of Environmental Economics of IVM between 2015-2020 and head between 2020-2022.
Since 2016, Wouter has held two permanent full Professor positions: on Economics of Climate Change and Natural Disasters at the VU, and on Economics of Global Environmental Change at the Utrecht University School of Economics. Wouter has been a senior research fellow at the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (2017-2022), where he was a visiting scholar since 2012. Other visiting positions include ICTA-UAB, the University of Maryland, and the University of California in Santa Barbara.
Wouter obtained his MSc degree in economics from Maastricht University in 2005, and his PhD degree in economics (cum laude) in 2010 from the VU for his thesis on the economics of insurance against climate change. His thesis won the Junior Societal Impact Award of the VU and was published in revised form by Cambridge University Press.
At IVM Wouter is involved in teaching various courses on environmental economics. He coordinates research on climate change economics and supervises several PhD students. His main research interests are climate change economics with a particular focus on risk, natural disaster insurance, behavioural economics of decision making under risk, and natural disaster risk assessment and management. He has published more than 150 articles in international scientific journals on these themes. His publications span the key journals in environmental economics, top economic journals, such as International Economic Review, and multi-disciplinary journals, such as PNAS, Nature, and Science. He won twice the best paper award of the journal Risk Analysis, the best paper award of the Journal of Flood Risk Management and he received the Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize. Wouter has contributed to various international book projects and high-level policy reports, such as the IPCC, the UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction [GAR], and Oxford Encyclopedia.
Wouter has worked on a variety of research projects funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Dutch research programme 'Knowledge for Climate' (KvK), and the European Commission, among others. Wouter was awarded a NWO-VENI scholarship in 2011 and a NWO-VIDI scholarship in 2015, which are granted to researchers who belong to the best 10%-20% of their international peer group. He obtained an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2023. Recent EU projects include ENHANCE, NATURVATION, COACCH, RECEIPT, REACHOUT, NATURANCE, CLIMAAX, ACCREU and various projects for DG-CLIMA, and DG-ECHO. He has advised several for profit and non-profit organizations, including the NAIC, WWF, the World Bank, the OECD and various insurance companies (Munich Re, Zurich Re, Dutch Association of Insurers, Achmea). Moreover, he advised (inter)national and local governments involved in climate policy and natural disaster risk management, such as UNDRR, Dutch ministries, and city governments of Rotterdam, New York City, and Los Angeles.
Wouter became a member of the Sustainable Finance Lab (SFL) in 2020, which is a think-tank connecting sustainability research and financial-sector practise. He is listed in the Reuters list of the world’s most influential climate scientists.