On May 24th, Min Luo, Yunqian Wang and Hao Guo successfully defended their double PhDs (Ghent University and University Chinese Academy of Sciences) at the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Urumqi, China). Min Luo defended a thesis entitled "Defining spatiotemporal characteristics of climate change trends in Central Asia and its impact on water resources in typical river basinsî (supervisors: prof. dr. Philippe De Maeyer and prof. dr. Tie LIU). Yunqian Wang defended a thesis entitled ìCharacterizing soil moisture variability for prediction of drought and precipitation in Xinjiang, China" (supervisors: prof. dr. Philippe De Maeyer and prof. dr. Jing Yang). Hao Guo defended a thesis entitled ìStudy of drought characteristics in the arid zones of Central Asia over the last 50 yearsî (supervisors: prof. dr. Philippe De Maeyer and prof. dr. Anming Bao).