dr. ir. Elham Rouholahnejad Freund

Elham Rouholahnejad FreundI am a Civil Engineer by background. I finished my bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and mater in Civil and Environmental Engineering in Iran. I Moved to Switzerland in 2009 and earned my PhD at the department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich in 2014. In my PhD and in the context of two European Union projects (enviroGRIDS and GENESIS), I developed continental hydrological models of both Black Sea Catchment (2 million km2) and continental Europe (10 million km2). During my PhD and a short postdoc at ETH Zurich and Eawag, I looked at high-resolution spatial and temporal distribution of fresh water resources in Black Sea catchments and continental Europe and their evolution under climate change and land use change scenarios. I finished a two years postdoc at the lab of Physics for Environmental  Systems (Prof. James Kirchner) at ETH where I mainly looked at evaporation process-understanding, role of groundwater in evaporation enhancement, and heterogeneity and lateral transfer and their impacts in large scale land surface models. In 2016 I was awarded an 18-month grant by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to further study the groundwater- evaporation feedbacks. As a SNSF fellow at the Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management (LHWM) in Ghent University (Prof. Dr. Diego Miralles), I am assimilation GRACE satellite observation into the in-house evaporation model, GLEAM.


Research topics: hydrology, land-climate interactions, groundwater-soil moisture-evapotranspiration interaction and feedbacks


Address: Coupure links 653 - Room A2.008

               9000 Ghent, Belgium

Phone: +32 9 264 61 37



  • 2017 – Present: Postdoctoral researcher - Ghent University, Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management
  • 2014 – 2016: Postdoctoral researcher - ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2009 – 2014: Doctoral researcher - ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2006 – 2009: Master of Engineering, Environmental and Civil Engineering - K. N. Toosi University, Tehran, Iran
  • 2001 – 2005: Bachelor of Engineering, Civil Engineering - Mazandaran University, Iran


  1. Rouholahnejad Freund, E., Abbaspour, K.C., Lehmann, A. Water Resources of the Black Sea Catchment under Future Climate and Landuse Change Projections,  Journal of Water, 2017.

  2. Lehmann, A., Guigoz, Y., Ray, N., Mancosu, E., Abbaspour, K.C., Rouholahnejad Freund, E., Allenbach, K., De Bono, A., Fasel, M., Gago da Silva, A., Baer, R., Lacroix, P., Giuliani, G. A regional platform from past to future land use, climate, demography, hydrology and beaches on the Black Sea catchment, Nature Scientific Data, 4, 170087, 2017.
  3. Rouholahnejad Freund, E., Kirchner, J. A Budyko framework for estimating how spatial heterogeneity and lateral moisture redistribution affect average evapotranspiration rates as seen from the atmosphere, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21, 217-233, 2017.
  4. Lacroix, P., Guigoz, Y., Ray, N., Rouholahnejad, E., Giuliani, G. SCOPED-W: SCalable Online Platform for Extracting Environmental Data and Water-related model outputs, Transaction in GIS, 2016.
  5. Fasel, M., Brethault, C., Rouholahnejad, E., Lacayo-Emery, M.A., Lehmann, A. Blue water scarcity in the Black Sea catchment: identifying key actors in the water nexus, Environmental Science and Policy, 66, 140-150, 2016.
  6. Abbaspour, K.C., Rouholahnejad, E., Vaghefi, S., Srinivasan, R., Yang, H., Klöve, B. European Continent Scale Hydrology and water quality model: Calibration and Uncertainty of a high-resolution large-scale SWAT model, Journal of Hydrology, 524, 733–752, 2015.
  7. Bär, R., Rouholahnejad, E., Rahman, K., Abbaspour, K., Lehmann, A. Climate Change and Agricultural Water Resources: A vulnerability assessment of the Black Sea catchment, Environmental Science and Policy, 46, 57-69, 2015.
  8. Rouholahnejad, E., Abbaspour, K., Srinivasan, R., Bacu, V., Lehmann A. Water resources of the Black Sea Basin at high spatial and temporal resolution, Water Resources Research, 50 (7), 5866-5885, 2014.
  9. Mihon, D., Bacu, V., Rodila, D., Abbaspour, K., Rouholahnejad, E., Gorgan, D. Grid based hydrologic model calibration and execution, Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 187, 279-293, 2013.
  10. Gorgan, D., Bacu, V., Mihon, D., Rodila, D., Abbaspour, K., Rouholahnejad, E. Grid based calibration of SWAT hydrological models, Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, 12 (7), 2411-2423, 2013.
  11. Rouholahnejad, E., Abbaspour, K., Vejdani, M., Srinivasan, R., Schulin, R., Lehmann, A. A parallelization framework for Calibration of hydrological models, Environmental Modelling and Software, 31, 28-26, 2012.
  12. Rouholahnejad, E., Sadrnejad , S.A. Numerical simulation of leachate transport into the groundwater at landfill sites, Proceeding of International Congress on Modelling and simulation, MODSIM09, 2009.