Van-Thanh-Van Nguyen

Professor and Chair
Academic title(s): 

Eng., D.A.Sc

Van-Thanh-Van Nguyen
Contact Information
Email address: [at]
Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Professor Nguyen is holder of the Endowed Brace Professor Chair in Civil Engineering at McGill University. He is currently Chair of Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Director of the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management. He has also served as Acting Director and Associate Director of the Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre at McGill (2004-2010). His scientific and professional contributions over more than 30 years have been mostly in the areas of Hydrology and Water Resources Management. He has been invited to participate in various expert committees at the provincial level (Quebec Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology, Ontario Council of Graduate Studies, Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec), at the national level (NRC Canada Associate Committee on Hydrology, Natural Resources Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), and at the international level (UNESCO, WMO, Japan, Vietnam). He has served as member of different scientific journal editorial boards (ASCE Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, IAHR Journal of Hydro-environment Research, IAHR Journal of Hydro informatics, etc.), and has been invited to deliver keynote and prestigious lectures at many universities, scientific conferences, and workshops in Canada and abroad. He has been invited professor at universities in Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Furthermore, since several years he has been active in international co-operation activities with colleagues in North-America, Europe, and in Asia-Pacific region as well as an active member in several professional associations (President of the Hydrological Science Section of the AOGS, 2006-2008; Founding member of APHW, Members of AGU, ASCE, AWRA, CSCE, IAHR, IAHS, and IWA). Finally, as a professional engineer, he has been involved in a number of projects with various consulting engineering companies in Canada (Hydro-Quebec, Dessau-Soprin Inc., etc.) and in other countries (South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, etc.). He is author or co-author of over 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, monographs, books, and conference proceedings.

Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics

B.Eng. (Vietnam)
M.Eng. (AIT)
D.A.Sc. (Montreal)


CIVE 208: Civil Engineering Sys Analysis (3 Credits)
CIVE 323: Hydrology and Water Resources (3 Credits)
CIVE 550: Water Resources Management (3 Credits)
CIVE 555: Environmental Data Analysis (3 Credits)

Research areas: 
Environmental Engineering
Selected publications: 


  • Khalili, M., Nguyen, V-T-V., and Gachon, P. (2011) "A Statistical Approach to Multi-Site Downscaling of Daily Extreme Temperature Series", International Journal of Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.3402, 18 pages.


  • Harding, A.E., Gachon, P., and Nguyen, V-T-V. (2010) "Replication of atmospheric oscillations and their patterns in predictors derived from Atmosphere–Ocean Global Climate Model output", International Journal of Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.2191.


  • Nguyen, V-T-V. (2009) "Recent Advances in Statistical Modeling of Extreme Rainfalls and Floods", International Journal on Hydropower & Dams, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 65-70. (Invited Paper)


  • Nguyen, V-T-V., Desramaut, N. and Nguyen, T-D. (2008) "Estimation of Urban Design Storms in Consideration of GCM-Based Climate Change Scenarios", Water and Urban Development Paradigms, J. Feyen, K. Shannon, and M. Neville (Eds.), Taylor and Francis Group, London, UK, pp. 347-356. (Keynote Paper)


  • Nguyen, V-T-V., Nguyen, T-D. and Cung, A. (2007) "A statistical approach to downscaling of sub-daily extreme rainfall processes for climate-related impacts studies in urban areas", Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 7:2, pp. 183-192.
  • Cooper, V.A., Nguyen, V-T-V. and Nicell, J.A. (2007) "Calibration of conceptual rainfall-runoff models using global optimization methods with hydrologic process-based parameter constraints", Journal of Hydrology, 334:3-4, pp. 455-466.


  • Peyron, N. and Nguyen, V-T-V. (2005) "An optimal temporal storm pattern for the design of urban drainage systems (in French)", Annales du batiment et des travaux publics, Vol. 3, pp. 35-42.


  • Nguyen, V-T-V., Nguyen, T.D. and Ashkar, F. (2002) "Regional frequency analysis of extreme rainfalls", Water Science and Technology, 45:2, pp. 75-81.


  • Pandey, G.R. and Nguyen, V-T-V. (1999) "A comparative study of regression based methods in regional flood frequency analysis", Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 225, pp. 92-101.


  • Pandey, G.R. and Nguyen, V-T-V. (1998) "Estimation of regional floods using covariance structural model", Canadian Water Resources Journal, 23:2, pp. 181-190.
  • Chouinard, L., Elfashny, K., Nguyen, V-T-V. and Laflamme, J. (1998) "Modelling of icing events based on passive ice meter observations in Quebec", Atmospheric Research, Vol. 46, pp. 169-179.
  • Nguyen, V-T-V., Nguyen, T-D. and Wang, H. (1998) "Regional estimation of short duration rainfall extremes", Water Science and Technology, 37:11, pp. 15-19


  • Cooper, V.A., Nguyen, V-T-V., and Nicell, J. (1997) "Evaluation of global optimization methods for conceptual rainfall-runoff model calibration", Water Science and Technology, 36 (5), pp. 53-60.


  • Ouldali, S., Leduc, R. and Nguyen, V-T-V. (1989) "Uncertainty modelling of facultative aerated lagoon systems", Water Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 451 459.
  • Nguyen, V-T-V., In-Na, N. and Bobee, B. (1989) "A new plotting position formula for Pearson type III distribution", ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 115, No. 6, pp. 709 730.
  • In-Na, N. and Nguyen, V-T-V. (1989) "An unbiased plotting position formula for the General Extreme Value distribution", Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 106, No. 3/4, pp. 193 209.


  • Nguyen, V-T-V. (1984) "On stochastic characterization of temporal storm patterns", Water Science and Technology, Vol. 16, No. 8/9, pp. 147 153.
  • Nguyen, V-T-V. (1984) "A stochastic description of temporal daily rainfall pattern", Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 234 238.


  • Nguyen, V-T-V. and Rousselle, J. (1981) "A stochastic model for the time distribution of hourly rainfall depth", Water Resources Research, Vol.17, No. 2, pp. 399 409.
  • Nguyen, V-T-V., Rousselle, J., and McPherson, M.B. (1981) "Evaluation of areal versus point rainfall with sparse data", Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 173‑178.
Current research: 

Over the past several years until now, Professor Nguyen has developed individual research projects as well as team research projects in collaboration with researchers from universities and industries in Canada and abroad. These projects have been funded by NSERC, Quebec FQRNT, Environment Canada, OURANOS Consortium, Hydro-Quebec, Centre d'Expertise et de Recherche en Infrastructures Urbaines in Quebec, Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology, etc.. In particular, he has been leading multidisciplinary research groups from various Canadian universities (INRS-ETE, McGill, U. Laval, U. Montreal, UQAM, U. Sherbrooke, and UBC) and research institutions (Environment Canada, and Hydro-Quebec) for preparing research proposals to establish research centres and networks in the areas of Climate Change and Water Resources Management (Projects funded by NSERC-Special Research Opportunity program, and Quebec FQRNT Regroupements stratégiques program).

Areas of interest: 

Professor Nguyen has served as expert consultant to various non-governmental and public (national and international) organizations. In addition, he has been invited to give prestigious lectures and seminars at many universities, scientific conferences, and training workshops in Canada and abroad. Examples include:

  • Climate change impacts and adaptation in water management
  • Modeling of hydrologic processes over different spatial and temporal scales (rainfalls, streamflows, temperatures, etc.)
  • Regional estimation of extreme hydrologic variables (extreme rainfalls, floods, temperature extremes, ice storms, etc.)
  • Automatic calibration of conceptual rainfall-runoff models
  • Forecasting and simulation of hydrologic series
  • Design, planning and management of urban drainage systems
  • Management of water resources systems for sustainable development
Professional activities: 
  • Member of an international expert committee set up by the World Meteorological Organization to revise the Guide to Hydrological Practices (responsible for revising and re-writing two chapters dealing with Frequency Analysis of Extreme Rainfalls and Design Storm Estimation).
  • Member of a Working Group set up by the Canadian Standards Association to prepare the guideline for engineering practice: “Development, Interpretation and Use of Rainfall IDF Information: Guideline for Canadian Water Resources Practitioners”.
  • Member of the UNESCO Regional Steering Committee for Asia-Pacific Region (2001 to date). He was the only Canadian member in this committee which consists of national representatives from countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).
  • Expert Consultant for the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ) (2005): to provide an appraisal of the proposal for establishing the B.Eng. program in Water Engineering at Laval University in Quebec.
  • Expert Consultant for the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (2004): to provide an appraisal of the proposal for establishing the PhD program in Civil Engineering at Ryerson University in Ontario.
  • Member of an expert committee set up by the Fondation Quebecoise en Environment to prepare a memorandum regarding energy development in Quebec (the memorandum was submitted to Quebec Parliamentary Commission on Economy in 1990).
  • Distinguished Speaker: Prestigious Axford Lecture delivered at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, Singapore (2015); Invited Speaker at the prestigious 12th Annual Meeting of the Science and Technology in Society Forum hosted by the Japanese Government, Japan (2015); Distinguished Lecture delivered at the 3rd AOGS Annual Meeting, Singapore (2006); Special Scientific Lecture delivered at the 12th Session of the WMO Commission for Hydrology, Geneva, Switzerland (2004); and a number of Keynotes Lectures delivered at international conferences in various countries (Belgium, Canada, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, South-Korea, Singapore, Sri lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam).
  • Invited Speaker at international symposia and training workshops: Annual Assembly of Chinese Hydraulic Engineering Society, China (2015); APEC Typhoon International Symposium on Risk Reduction and Management for Typhoon and Flood, Taiwan (2014); Symposium on Sustainability/Survivability Science, Japan (2013); Gerald and Lillian Orlob International Symposium on Theoretical Hydrology, University of California-Davis, USA (2013); 18th Congress of the Asia and Pacific Division of International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research, South-Korea (2012); 6th International Conference on Asian and Pacific Coasts, Hong Kong, China (2011); Workshop of the Japan Hydraulic Engineering Association - Tohoku Region, Japan (2010); International Workshop on the Impacts of Climate Change on Urban Flooding, Vietnam (2009); Workshop on Data-driven and Physically-based Models for Characterization of Processes in Hydrology, Hydraulics, Oceanography and Climate Change, Singapore (2008); Training Workshop on Urban Hydrology organized by UNESCO in Vietnam (1999); Advanced Training Workshop on Stormwater Modelling organized by UNESCO in Malaysia (1998), etc.
  • Member of the Scientific Program Committees for organizing various international conferences in Australia, China, Denmark, France, Japan, Malaysia, South-Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, etc.
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