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UNESCO-IHE is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world and is based in Delft, the Netherlands. The Institute confers fully accredited MSc degrees, and PhD degrees in collaboration with partner universities.

Western Europe
Delft, The NetherlandsWestern Europe

The Institute

Since 1957 the Institute has provided graduate education to more than 15,000 water professionals from over 162 countries, the vast majority from the developing world. Numerous research and capacity development projects are carried out throughout the world. The Institute offers a unique combination of applied, scientific and participatory research in water engineering combined with natural sciences, social sciences and management and governance. Since its establishment the Institute has played an instrumental role in developing the capacities of water sector organizations in the Global South, not least by strengthening the efforts of other universities and research centres to increase the knowledge and skills of professionals working in the water sector.

UNESCO-IHE carries out educational, research and capacity development activities that complement and reinforce each other in the broad fields of water engineering, water management, environment, sanitation, and governance.


The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education is based in and operates from Delft, the Netherlands. UNESCO-IHE is part of the UN/UNESCO Water family and is owned by all UNESCO member states. The Institute is established as a UNESCO 'Category I Institute' jointly by UNESCO and the Government of the Netherlands.Through the signing of the following three agreements, UNESCO-IHE was established in 2003:

UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed the Seat Agreement,
UNESCO and the Dutch Ministry of Education signed the Operational Agreement,
UNESCO and the IHE Delft Foundation signed the Cooperation Agreement.

The agreements include internal rules that guarantee functional autonomy to achieve the Institute's objectives. Read more.

Facts & Figures

In this section an overview of facts & figures over the last years is presented with regard to number of PhD fellows, publications and financial turnover. 





SENSE Research School

The research quality at UNESCO-IHE has been assessed in 2014 by the Evaluation Committee of the SENSE Research School for the period 2007 to 2013. The Evaluation Committee considered the research accomplishments of UNESCO-IHE, especially as they relate to developing countries, as highly effective.

Click here to read more and to download the assessment report.

Beneficiaries & clients

UNESCO-IHE provides a wide range of services to a variety of target groups in developing countries and countries in transition:

  • Education, training and scientific research – for water sector professionals, engineers, scientists, consultants and decision-makers working in the water and environment sectors.
  • Water sector capacity development – for water sector ministries and departments, municipalities, water boards and water utilities, universities, training and research institutes, industries, non-governmental and private sector organisations.
  • Partnership building and networking – among knowledge centres, public and private sector organisations.
  • Standard setting for education and training – for water-related institutions, universities and other education and training agencies in the water sector.
  • Policy forum on water – for UNESCO member states and other stakeholders.


UNESCO-IHE’s campus is located in the centre of Delft. The premises, comprising three interconnected buildings, cover an area of 14,000 square metres, extending from the main entrance of the new building on Westvest 7, to the historic buildings of Oude Delft 95 and 93 along one of Delft’s main canals.

The Institute offers a wide range of facilities:

  • Four modern teaching and research laboratories: aquatic ecology, microbiology process and analytical laboratories;
  • library with online connections to a worldwide network of libraries, and a reading room containing many international journals and magazines;
  • Multifunctional lecture theaters and a fully equipped auditorium that seats 300;
  • Extensive ICT facilities, including a studio with videoconferencing facilities;
  • Innovative learning tools, including smart boards, WiFi and remote access to all digital resources
  • A restaurant offering a wide variety of meals and snacks;
  • An in-house prayer and meditation room;
  • Residential accommodation equipped with computers, internet connections and other facilities.