Jeroen Rijnhart

Managing Director

Due to the departure of Martijn Bijmans as director, I was asked by the Supervisory Board to manage CEW. I combine this with my work for NHL Stenden.

I studied Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, specializing in civil health technology. After my study, in 1991, I made a conscious choice to first work at a large consultancy & engineering firm, I could always go and work somewhere else later. That became Grontmij. In the first 10 years of my career I have earned money with water, first as project manager for treatment plants for communal and industrial waste water both in the Netherlands and abroad, then as account manager Water. I then held a number of executive positions at Grontmij during the second 10 years. Eventually I was able to combine both as Water & Energy Division Director. In this position I was able to combine my passion for water with (international) business and organizational development.

Much later than originally planned, I exchanged the consultancy & engineering industry for the semi-public sector in 2014. A new world opened up for me there and I became a so-called “bordercrosser”. Commissioned by the University of Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences and Alfa College, as a director / quartermaster, I put EPI knowledge center, a new knowledge center focused on the earthquake problem, on the market in two years and provided funding. Since 2017 I have been working at NHL Stenden university at the Technology & Innovation academy. I am involved in organizational development aimed at establishing and operationalizing the connection between education, research and the professional field. In addition, I am a member of the Supervisory Board of a Secondary Education school community with schools from ISK and practical school up to and including gymnasium. Through the combination of these educational functions, I have developed a broad perspective on education in the Netherlands in recent years. In addition, I can very well make the connection with the professional field. I am also a member of a municipal audit office committee.

I am energized when I see that we have created an environment in which people develop and are emotionally involved. Then, as it were, organizational development goes without saying. For me, a number of things come together at CEW, organizational development, public-public and public-private crossovers, business development, an international focus, water technology and above all a group of enthusiastic and driven colleagues.

I would like to contribute to my role at CEW guaranteeing a strong foundation for cooperation between education and research. Working together sounds theoretically very easy, but in practice it is not. I have experienced that people regularly respond as real people and do not adhere to the theory. Only if you dare to entrust part of your autonomy to others and this trust is rewarded, will a common basis arise. This can be expanded step by step. That process is littered with pitfalls that we often only see when we look back. In other organizations I have experienced that people and organizations get wings when you can celebrate success together. We will do the same at CEW and with our partners.

Jooske Haije

Chairman of the Board

Since November 1, 2018, I am chairman of the board of the Centre of Expertise Water Technology, which also includes Jeroen Rijnhart and Betty Johanns. I have been asked for this position from my position at NHL Stenden university. Here I am director of the Technology & Innovation academy with courses in the fields of Chemistry / Life Sciences, Engineering, Built Environment and research centres on the themes of Sustainable Plastics & Circular Plastics, Computer Vision & Data Science, Water Technology, Smart Manufacturing and Sustainable Construction . I am also a director of the Centre of Expertise GreenPac (Green Polymer Application Centre).

My background is in social and organizational psychology, for example, I have conducted research into the AIDS campaign in the Netherlands and into training of operators in the chemical industry. My experience is in various areas of higher professional education, for example I was involved in the Communication & Multimedia Design course for a long time and I was the head of the Exact Courses teacher training courses, but also the HRM staff head.

I get energy from the enthusiasm of students and staff for their profession. I think it is great to see to which special, socially relevant projects we contribute from the university. The dynamics of an environment where everyone is busy with personal and professional development appeals to me a lot.

In my spare time I like to go to the theater with my Italian husband and our two daughters, I like to take brisk walks, read a lot and I love quizzes. I think the Centre of Expertise Water Technology is a great way to ensure that we get more and more applied knowledge and more and more graduates in water technology to be able to meet the demands in the field. There is a strategic plan that I would like to work with together. It is sometimes not easy to properly connect the various partners and their interests in the CEW. Together we can do that.

Betty Johanns

Board member

The CEW is a foundation that is set up to stimulate (applied research) education and research in the field of water technology. The universities of applied research (NHL Stenden university and Van Hall Larenstein university) do this in collaboration with (water technology) companies, institutions and Wetsus. I am Deputy Director at the Life Science and Technology department (LS&T) and the programs of LS&T work together with CEW, therefore I have been asked to become a co-director at CEW. Furthermore, from Feb 2014 to Dec 2014 I was connected to the CEW for one day a week as a project manager.

My background is chemical technology. I once studied this at the University of Twente. Graduated in biomedical material engineering, but that was hard to find. I started my career as a process engineer at Comprimo B.V. an engineering firm that focused on the design of process installations in the oil and gas industry, among other things. My “specialty” was gas rating: removing H2S and CO2 from natural gas. Then I rolled into education. First as a chemical engineering teacher at a technical evening college in Amsterdam, later as team leader part-time higher technical education for chemical engineering, industrial engineering and management, and civil engineering. Via a long detour I finally landed in Leeuwarden via the minor oil and gas (back to the roots) and since 1 Sept. 2016 deputy director of Life Sciences & Technology, a partnership between NHL Stenden and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Science. I am responsible for biology and medical laboratory research, biotechnology, chemistry, chemical engineering and food technology.

I get energy from students who are enthusiastic about the profession. From graduates who speak full of fire about their assignment and from teachers who have a passion for their field. I personally get energy from (in random order) running, my granddaughter(s) and cycling.

In my position at CEW I would like to achieve that we make students enthusiastic about water technology with great assignments and intensive cooperation with the professional field, the research groups and research institutes (Wetsus).

Renata Douma

Office Manager

I found the vacancy of Office Manager at the CEW in December 2020 on a job site; it immediately appealed to me and so I sollicitated to it. Two weeks later I could start.

As a preliminary education I did the hotel management school in Leeuwarden and after that I had various positions in the commercial sector, all of which have common ground with my work at CEW (HRM, financial and secretarial).

I get energy from “arranging and organising” in a broad and independent position. I like that I now work for an organization with social involvement, in a setting where you have a lot to do with (international) students.

For me, pleasure in my work and nice colleagues are the most important thing and I think that should certainly work out!

Nanni Soeten- Ten Broek


In the middle of my vacation I saw an advertisement from CEW and it immediately appealed to me. As I became more aware of CEW, I discovered that the organization is the connecting factor between students, schools and research in the field of water technology. The international aspect of CEW immediately gave me a cheerful feeling. I used to live in the United States for a year as an Au Pair, because I wanted to create international connections and I certainly succeeded. My year in the United States allowed me to learn a lot from others, improve my English and have many different experiences. This all comes in handy in my work at CEW.


Before I started at the CEW I mainly worked within family law in the notarial profession. I missed the international aspect of my work a bit, so I was extra enthusiastic about the position that the CEW had online at that time. At the CEW I can work with colleagues, but also with (in)national students from different study programs. The Netherlands is known for water and I think that appeals to many international people as well as students. It gives something extra to the company and I find that very interesting.


In addition, I always find it very important that I can grow within a company, but it doesn’t have to be too exciting in my opinion. As long as can enjoy my work, I get energy from the environment and my tasks. Monotonous work wouldn’t make me happy. The best thing about my position as a secretary at the CEW is the variety in the work. My focus is not on a specific task, but on anything and everything. For example, I am involved in planning, contracts, supporting employees and looking for opportunities for the company. Every day is different and that’s how I like to see it.



Maarten Trilsbeek

Project Manager

Education, technology and working with people, a unique combination that gives me energy every day. Whether it’s guiding graduates within complex projects or explaining the hows and whys of fog to primary school pupils, it doesn’t matter to me. In May 2015 I had the opportunity to be assigned from the NHL University of Applied Sciences to the CEW. I didn’t have to think long about working for a foundation that connects education and business. Initially, my role was mainly to manage the projects implemented by the CEW. We try as much as possible to involve students and lecturers from universities of applied sciences when working on these projects. With the expansion of the CEW team, my role has become more and more of a link between education and the CEW. What do I do all day? Promote the CEW within education, inspire (potential) water technology students, introduce (new) topics to the curriculum, monitor quality and adjust where necessary, and not to mention, ensure that we have enough students on board to carry out the growing number of projects.

Marco Verkaik

Project Manager

In my work I always look for challenges, I am eager to learn and I like it when my work demands flexibility. I already noticed this when I started studying. A study in medicine in Antwerp did not give me what I hoped for and so I switched to studying biology in Groningen. This turned out to be a good choice and I graduated as a medical biologist. I then found an PhD in which I mainly focused on research into biofilm formation. I remained flexible, because after this topic I worked as a postdoc with nanomedicines as a new anticancer medicine. After eight years of research, in which I, among other things, supervised students and shared information with colleagues, I noticed that I enjoyed sharing knowledge and especially helping young people to develop.

When I was allowed to help in a chemistry lesson in the Environmental Sciences study program at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences and shortly afterwards I was allowed to teach myself as a substitute due to illness, that was confirmed. I first received a temporary contract as a microbiology teacher there and then continued as a teacher at MBO Life Sciences in the Biological Medical Analyst department. Here I mainly taught technical and practical education in clinical chemistry and pathology. My teaching position has brought me a lot, I have gained both theoretical and practical knowledge, but I also got to know myself better through the mirror that students held out to me. In addition, I was fortunately allowed to teach the students a lot and I was able to advise on research here and there.

In 2018 I came into contact with CIV Water, which aims to bring education and business closer together. In September 2019 I ended up at the CEW via CIV Water, in the same building. Now that I had developed myself as a teacher and with my background as a researcher, the challenge in the form of the CEW was just right. Initially as a researcher, but since January 2021 as a project manager. At the CEW I can combine the best of both worlds. Due to the many different innovative assignments that the CEW receives, you have to be flexible and you need knowledge of research. Because students play an important role in our research, we also have an educational task. I would therefore like to join the mission of the CEW: training people for the top sector Water and helping entrepreneurs to innovate by conducting applied research.

Bob van Bijnen

Project Manager

I had already been hired by the CEW several times for various projects via my own company, NewAna. So when the CEW was looking for a new project manager, they didn’t have to look too far. I followed a training course in Laboratory and Process Technology at the NHL. This, combined with my technical background at Wetsus and my experience at the Water Application Centre, qualified me for the position of project manager at CEW. Being able to help an SME to prove a product’s effectiveness, getting it onto the market more quickly and solving water problems together gives me energy. The CEW is a multidisciplinary organisation where you learn from your colleagues by working together on projects. In addition, the CEW is a training organisation where there is always scope for growth in projects, knowledge and quality. Together with my colleagues, I hope to continue developing the CEW as a robust, high-quality project organisation whose customers are always satisfied.

Tjeerd Rintjema

Marketing & Communication Advisor

In my work I’m not only looking for satisfaction but also social relevance, and the CEW offers that in abundance! To be honest, I’d never really thought about water technology until I saw the vacancy at the CEW. Now I realise that water technology is a field of vital significance, and that it will only grow and become more important in the coming years. As a PR and communication specialist, I ‘sell’ the CEW’s services, namely applied water technology research, via various online and offline channels. I also help to recruit students for the water-related programmes of Van Hall Larenstein and the NHL University of Applied Sciences. One of the CEW’s objectives is supplying enough well trained personnel to the water technology sector, both now and in the future. PR and communication play a very important role in this, and that’s what motivates me. It’s really motivating to give a group of primary school children an unforgettable day by explaining water technology with the help of ‘cool’ experiments, as is a nice publication following a press release. Making a difference, that’s what the CEW does and that’s what makes me happy!

Länk Vaessen

Business Developer

How did I come to join the CEW? Well, that’s not such an exciting story, I fear. My brother-in-law pointed out a vacancy in the newspaper, so I sent an application letter. That resulted in an interview and ultimately in my appointment as a business developer. I studied Commercial Economics and then started working at Philips Lighting as an International Product Manager, where I was responsible for rechargeable batteries, among other things. After working for Philips for eight years, I became Marketing Manager at Donker Groen (Green Provider). In 2003 I started my own company specialising in non-chemical water purification. Those were exciting times when I did wonderful things and spent a lot of time abroad. Unfortunately, the banking crisis came half a year too early for me and I had to close down. The knowledge I acquired is now of great benefit to me at the CEW. Being able to respond to the needs of customers, meaning something to them and gaining their confidence is what motivates me. What I like about working at the CEW is that I can sell something unique and important. With a ‘salesman’, people immediately think of someone selling a product or service, but selling knowledge in collaboration with a university of applied sciences and the government is special! In my experience, this ‘new learning’ is the future: companies specify what is needed and the educational curriculum is adapted accordingly. Students will soon be working much more with real business cases instead of dry theoretical material. What I want to achieve with the CEW is that, together with the universities of applied sciences, we become the leading knowledge institute for applied research in water technology in terms of content, and that we help to shape ‘the new learning’.  

Francisca Medina Pappermann

Project Manager

I started working for CEW on the first of April, after moving from Switzerland. I was looking to start my career in the water field; my target country was the Netherlands because of having one of the best qualities of water due to the promotion of leading technologies. CEW was the perfect place to expand my career because it combines water, science and technology.

I studied a chemistry degree in Chile and after working for a while in a biotech research centre there, I pursued a master in environmental engineering in Barcelona.

The improvement of the technologies related to the water resource is one of my life passions and it is what motivates me to contribute to reaching a more sustainable world. What I like the most about CEW is the cooperative interaction between the education and research sector and the companies and governmental parties. Becoming a society that takes care of the environment and its limited resources is nowadays one of our great challenges, I believe that at/with CEW we can contribute together and help make this a reality.

Sandra Bruinenberg


I heard through the grapevine that the CEW probably needed people because someone had left. I was advised to contact Martijn Bijmans. Which I did. And here I am! I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Groningen. After that I worked at Wetsus for four years on addressing the problem of biofouling of reverse osmosis membranes. Then I joined a small company that extracted more detailed information from measurement data for customers. After that, I worked at ECM Technologies where I did research into the electrochemical machining of metals and alloys. I really enjoy the structured implementation of projects: ensuring that all (measurement) data are described in a neat and accessible report, which satisfies all the project partners. Teaching students and observing their development is also very rewarding. The CEW often solves environmental issues, which I think is a very good thing. It’s wonderful that students are involved in this: they can work on interesting projects while they’re studying and improve and expand their skills in very useful ways. Personally, I would like to immerse myself even more deeply in water technology and continue expanding my knowledge in this field. I am a teacher-researcher and I would also like to develop as a teacher.

Bob Laarhoven


I ended up at the CEW following a conversation with my namesake Bob van Bijnen and because of an earlier collaboration within the CADOS project. I was born in Oud Gastel, a small town in the Dutch province of North Brabant. In 1998 I began my chemistry studies at Etten-Leur University and in 1999 I began an MSc course in Biology at the University of Groningen, specialising in marine biology research. Then, from 2006 I attended a postgraduate course in education at the University Centre for Learning & Teaching at the University of Groningen, earning a first class honours degree in teaching biology. In early 2008 I started working as a junior researcher at the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries at Wageningen University. Here I worked on the European aquaculture project SustainAqua, which supported and conducted several experiments on sustainable improvements to recirculating aquaculture systems. In 2009, I started as a research manager at Til-aqua International, and worked on improving tilapia fry production in terms of better nutrition and development. I also carried out various nutritional studies for external companies and conducted research into temperature-controlled sex reversal in tilapia. Since 2010 I’ve been active on behalf of the Dutch Association of Aquaculture (NGVA) as a member of the Activities Committee, which organises meetings and excursions centred on aquaculture. In the summer of 2010 I started working as a PhD student at the Environmental Technology sub-department of Wageningen University. During my PhD, I was stationed at Wetsus, the European knowledge centre for water technology research in Leeuwarden. In 2015, before I obtained my PhD, I started working as a researcher in the research group Products and Processes for Biotechnology at the University of Groningen. Here I carried out research into the detection and reuse of tertiary cellulose, as part of the CADOS project cooperation. In addition to my work for the CEW, I am currently looking into setting up a company that produces aquatic worms as food for ornamental and farmed fish. Thinking through research and putting it into practice inspires me, as does seeing students progress. The CEW builds a beautiful bridge between education and industry, with a variety of topics. My ambition at the CEW is to keep my role as a research supervisor challenging and to continue to apply the experience I have to that role.

Maria Osuna Gonzalez


I started working for CEW on April 23, 2018. I learned that CEW was looking for new colleagues and with my background in Environmental Microbiology it looked like a perfect fit, moreover since I really enjoy working with students. I studied Microbiology at the University of the Basque Country, in my home country Spain. After finishing my degree I pursued a PhD in Environmental Biotechnology at the same university, with part of the experimental work performed at Wageningen University. After finishing my Degree I have held several Postdoc positions in universities and research institutes in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. I believe that with biotechnology we can make our surrounding world more sustainable, treat our wastewater and recover valuable resources from it. What I like about CEW is the interaction between research & education and private companies, which ensures that our projects are of practical relevance. I am passionate about working with biology in order to produce something valuable or to solve a problem somewhere. This combined with working with students, from whom you get a lot of energy through their enthusiasm and drive for changing things to make the world a little better. At CEW I want to achieve to do great and high quality research projects, while on the way educate young promising students and learn from them as well.

Jordi Moreno

Project Manager

When I heard that CEW would be a partner in the new project LL4WIDE (Living Labs for Water Innovation Demonstration Exchange), I asked for more information directly to Martijn Bijmans. At the end of that talk, I decided to apply for the position of Project Manager as we considered my skills would fit perfectly. I obtained a BSc of Environmental sciences and a MSc of Water Science and Technology, both at the University of Girona (Catalonia, Spain). Later, I’ve recently obtained a PhD from the University of Twente, during my PhD thesis I developed the Blue Energy technology to further commercialization. I like to start new things and new project (ideas), or help others enhancing their ideas. Curiosity is my main drive. CEW is highly dynamic, in terms of different projects with different durations, also the combination of young students and senior management, make an amazing atmosphere to teach and learn. I would like to increase the international relations of CEW by starting new European endeavors and also, with my background, bring some new expertise in the company to increase the excellence of our applied research work.

Karolina Smiech


I am connected to the CEW via my position as a researcher at NHL-Stenden and VHL Universities of Applied Sciences. After I graduated from MSc Water Technology at Wetsus Academy, I heard via my network that there was a position available at these universities in cooperation with CEW. I liked the description of this position and decided to apply. I did my BSc of Environmental Technology at Gdansk University of Technology, in Poland and my MSc of Water Technology at Wetsus Academy/ Wageningen University. I am always happy when the work we do together with our students and colleagues contributes to solving real problems companies face, when we can contribute to the development of companies’ products. I am happy when results obtained in our research are translated into real-life applications. At CEW I get to work on various projects and explore various water technologies. I very much like the “applied” aspect of the research we do. In my work I get to learn from specialists from companies who are our clients as well as from my colleagues at CEW. I get to meet many very different people – I supervise students from all over the world. My job gives me an opportunity to do a variety of tasks, combining practical hands-on work in the laboratory and work behind a computer, doing things myself and supervising students, combining research and education. My goal is to continue developing my practical knowledge and skills of water technologies and their applications, to build my expertise in this field. I want to be a specialist who can be relied on.

Janneke Dickhout


When I did my PhD research at Wetsus, Martijn Bijmans was already a colleague of mine. He approached me several times to ask what I wanted after my defense, and after a number of conversations I got here in consultation with NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (from where I was seconded). I therefore combine education at NHL Stenden/ Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences with research projects at the CEW. I studied natural sciences in Nijmegen, specialization Physical Chemistry. Then I started my PhD research at Wetsus. In collaboration with Membrane Science and Technology at the University of Twente, I spent 4 years researching oil-water separation using membranes, and in particular the interaction between oil droplets and surfaces under different conditions. I finished my PhD officially on 1 November 2018! The training of a next generation of researchers and technologists I find very beautiful, because they will play a very important role in a world in which we have to deal smarter with resources, such as water and energy. I like it when a student does an internship project with pleasure and finishes it. Nevertheless, I also get a lot of energy from motivating and helping students with whom it is a little more difficult, and the best thing is when they finally see that they can do it. And a personal thing: I enjoy finding out things that I did not know yet. If I go home every day with a bit more knowledge than what I left with that morning, I’m happy. The work is incredibly varied. Regardless of your background knowledge, you are put on projects that you may not know so much about, which offers the possibility to grow a lot yourself. In addition, it is a nice team of people where, besides working hard, the social part is also of paramount importance. Improving the connection between the university college and the CEW, shortening the lines and helping to set up even more successful collaborations is what I am aiming for at the CEW!

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