The world is rapidly changing due to climate change and socio-economic change. Socio-economic change (more people, higher economical value) requires new, higher standards for protection against natural hazards. The rate of change in protection standards is (much) higher than the rate in which new observational data becomes available. Numerical models are used to support assessments of these increasing risks. However, since the standards are increasing the demand on the accuracy of the models is rapidly growing, the question is if they can meet these requirements . A leap is needed to provide more accurate estimates of the hazards that correspond with these higher standards.
It is easier to identify game changers in hindsight than to predict what developments would change the game. However, there are at least two developments that we believe will change the nature and the directions of research and innovation in water. And therefore they may guide students in the topics they will choose. These are the deluge of data and the rapidly improving access to these data access to these data, and the warnings that the planet may be reacting much faster and more vigorously to climate change than we thought.