The examination committee consisted out of Prof. dr. Fulco Ludwig (WUR), dr. Holger Hoff (PIK/SEI), Prof. dr. Marc Bierkens (UU), Prof. dr. Kees van Leeuwen (UU/ KWR Watercycle Research Institute), and Dr. Birka Wicke (UU). The first three opponents all interrogated David about the assumptions in and limitations of his developed (integrative) water demand model and analysis. Did he, amongst other things, include grey and non-conventional water resources (e.g. desalination) and how would these influence his results? David explained how some of the elements were included, while others could not due to limitations in the broader interlinked LPJmL model.
Dr. Hoff followed-up by questioning why David did not call his thesis the Energy-Water-Land Nexus as food is a derivative of land and land use? David gave it a thought, and came back by saying that in his current formulation (Food-Water-Energy) he considers tradable commodities while Land in that sense is not. Dr. Wicke also triggered discussion by questioning the title and definitions used in the thesis. She reasoned that “sustainable development” is in essence an oxymoron. How can one move towards sustainable resource use in a world focused on economic growth and consumption, and did David look into the effects of a systemic change there?
In a classic “saved by the bell” moment, the last opponent was cut off by the echo of ‘Hora Est’. All professors retreated to reflect on Davids performance. After a short intermezzo, the committee returned and granted David the title of Dr. His promotors, Prof. dr. Stefan Dekker and Prof. dr. Detlef van Vuuren, respectively took his oath of good scientific conduct and pronounced the “laudatio” (speech). After a loud applause from the audience, it was finally time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of 4 years of hard work.
David continues to data crunch – though nowadays outside of academia and in medical risk management issues at ValueCare. Although it appears to be a complete change on the exterior, some things remain the same: David has already scheduled an R-workshop into the agendas of his new colleagues at his new office.