Jeroen Rijnhart

Managing Director

Due to the departure of the former 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, specialising 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 organisational 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 organisational development aimed at establishing and operationalising 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 energised when I see that we have created an environment in which people develop and are emotionally involved. Then, as it were, organisational development goes without saying. For me, a number of things come together at CEW, organisational 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 organisations I have experienced that people and organisations 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 Niek de Boer. 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 organisational 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.

Niek De Boer

Board Member

At the end of 2020 I started as Location Director/ Director of Research at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (HVHL). Before that I worked for consultancy and engineering firms for almost 25 years. Of these, for almost 14 years with a well-known company: Arcadis. In recent years I have been able to fulfill two challenging management roles there, namely that of the Water Management & Green Space market group and then of the Environment Businessline. In recent years it started to itch a bit: “Am I going to do this kind of work for another 20 years or should I do something different for once?” And then the vacancy came at HVHL. A wonderful broad role, in which I can enrich myself, but in which I can also enrich study programs and therefore students. That feels like added value and that’s what I went for. And this feeling comes true. Within a month I sat around the table with the CEW several times to strengthen the cooperation and now in the role of board member.

My background is that I graduated as a Hydrologist in Wageningen. Before that I did Environmental Science at the Van Hall Institute, then still in Groningen. I get a lot of energy from setting up new collaborations and developments together. STRONG TOGETHER. I don’t think I have to explain to anyone why I like working for the CEW, given this background and wanting to go for STRONG TOGETHER. I hope to establish strong alliances with the CEW with more continuity.

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 organisation 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!

Marise Schotanus

Office Assistant

Via someone I found out that the CEW was looking for someone for the secretariat and the administration. I had previously studied what the CEW does and what it stands for, and I found and still find it very interesting. So when this opportunity came, I immediately emailed my resume, I was invited for a job interview and one month later I was in my place. Because that’s what it really feels like.

Before this I worked for a technical wholesaler in the marketing department for many years. I followed an executive secretary course and after thinking about looking for a new challenge for a while, I knew I wanted to work again in a secretarial position.

I really enjoy doing different tasks. So no day is the same. I am helpful and I get energy from arranging and organising practical matters for colleagues and students.

The CEW works together with students on solving water-related issues and technology development for companies and governments. Super important, especially these days. It feels good to be part of a socially involved organisation.

I hope to learn a lot at CEW. Pleasure and satisfaction in my work are very important to me, as is good contact with nice colleagues. So far it’s going very well.

Maarten Trilsbeek

Talent 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.

Tjeerd Rintjema

Marketing & Communications 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’.  

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 the then director directly for more information. 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 commercialisation. 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.

Olga Sójka


I have been aware of CEW for a while now, since I have been around the Water Campus one way or another since 2015. While I was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at Wetsus in 2023, it came to my attention that CEW is searching for someone with a background in microbiology to fill in their researcher position. During an informal meeting with Jordi, he has introduced the organization to me and I was sold. The position really suited my background and my job expectations. I have obtained my BSc degree in Environmental Protection Engineering at Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland and my MSc in Water Technology at Wetsus Academy / Wageningen University. After graduation, I had a chance to work as a water technologist in two companies focused on decentralized drinking water and wastewater treatment. However, my interest in water research brought me back to Wetsus where I did my PhD project in collaboration with the Biomedical Engineering department at the UMCG, studying the influence of pipe materials and a nanogel coating on biofilm formation in drinking water distribution systems. After that, I remained one more year at Wetsus, exploring other biotechnology and microbiology research areas as a postdoc researcher. I really enjoy interacting with people, exchanging experiences and knowledge, learning and giving advice. I always hope that what we do in the environment- and water-related research will inspire others, especially those at the very early stages of their careers, to consider taking this direction too. In these respects, CEW has a lot to offer. The variety of multidisciplinary projects and daily tasks, interacting with companies and colleagues, supervising students, all of it creates a dynamic environment that allows continuous learning and personal growth. And the fact that the research done here results in applied sustainable solutions makes it even more attractive. I hope that working at CEW will expand my knowledge in water technology further and help me gain practical skills, so I can grow into an advisory role.

Janneke Dickhout


During my PhD research at Wetsus, I was approached several times by CEW asking what I wanted to do after my defence, 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!

Uche Obinna


With my multidisciplinary background and my contacts at NHL Stenden and in Friesland, I see myself as a good asset as a researcher for multiple projects at CEW. I started as a student of Environmental Sciences at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden, obtained a master in Environmental and Energy management at the University of Twente, and a PhD from the department of Industrial Design Engineering of TU Delft.

My PhD research was financed by the Province of Friesland and was executed in conjunction with NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and TU Delft. My link with NHL Stenden brought me in contact with CEW to fill the position of researcher.

It is interesting to work on projects at CEW because I like new challenges that broaden my network and horizon. I am going to work on two projects for CEW. The first project is ‘Bridging the water’, where I will focus on the institutionalisation of the water trainings and living labs developed in South Africa. I want to help them achieve one of the important aims of the project, which is bridging the gap, between the current fragmentation of water training-programs in South Africa.

In order to take the living labs so far developed to the next level, you must go beyond just the development and implementation of technology. You want to create a collaboration between the living labs, the government and the universities, the way it is done in the Netherlands.  In this capacity, the development of sustainable business models for the future development of living labs will be the major focus.

The second project I am going to do research for, is focussing on how to broaden the scope of water technology in Northern Netherlands. It aims at finding out what is going on in this area of water technology, what the goals and challenges are. An important question is therefore related to foster water innovation in a regional context.

Besides caring about the well-being of its workers, CEW works on developing innovative solutions that add value to society and support sustainability. The projects they work on match all my interests, and I feel very motivated and full of energy to be a part of this. I am excited to see what this new chapter is going to bring me.

Maarten van de Griend


While writing my PhD thesis at Wetsus and orienting on my future career, I learned about a researcher vacancy at CEW. Since working with students was a major motivation for me this position seemed like an excellent opportunity. Additionally, taking my career slowly to a more applied field seemed like progress. From a background in theoretical (astro-)physics, I decided to make the step to water technology after my masters. It was nice to see that science does not have to be far away, but can also be very tangible and practical.

I get energy from seeing the puzzle pieces of a project come together and implementing our own specialities to succeed as a team. I think CEW is a nice organisation to work for, because people from multiple disciplines come together and it is therefore an excellent opportunity to broaden my interests. I hope that with my background, I can both learn and teach a lot from/to my colleagues and make the field of water technology more successful!

Dana Colpa


At the end of my postdoc at the University of Groningen, I was looking for a job with social relevance in which I could use my biochemistry background. Nature is beautiful and inspiring to me and I have always been interested in how nature works in detail. From this curiosity I started studying chemistry with a specialisation in molecular biology & biotechnology in the master. After my studies I did PhD research on DyP-type peroxidases, enzymes that degrade water-soluble dyes. Subsequently, as a postdoc, I conducted research on the fermentative production and degradation of bioplastic PHA. During this last period I had the opportunity to supervise many students in their master project/ thesis research. Performing research together gives me energy.

A colleague at the University of Groningen, Janneke Krooneman (also a lecturer at the Wetsus Academy), drew my attention to the vacancy for a researcher at CEW. The position immediately appealed to me: to carry out applied water technology research for companies together with students. Research that can contribute to the improvement of the environment and/ or that forms a step towards a circular economy. Fortunately, I was hired and given the opportunity to contribute to this great cause. From CEW I work two days a week at Wetterskip Fryslân to be trained as a water treatment technologist and to strengthen the cooperation between CEW and Wetterskip Fryslân.

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