Prof. Maarten van Aalst joins NWO-WOTRO Steering Committee

NWO-WOTRO welcomes Prof. Maarten van Aalst and Prof. Merle de Kreuk as new members of the steering committee. They represent the Physical and Natural Sciences, and the Engineering and Applied Sciences, respectively. Both have been appointed for a first term of three years. At the same time, discharge has been granted to Prof. Petra Hellegers and Prof. P.Y. Yola Georgiadou. These changes are taking place as the steering committee’s first term of four years has passed.

Prof. Maarten van Aalst is director of the international Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and professor at the University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Sciences and Earth Observation (ITC), where he holds the Princess Margriet Chair in Climate and Disaster Resilience. Maarten is also Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and has been a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction of the UN, the Leadership Group of the UN Climate Resilience Initiative, the Partners for Resilience alliance, and the advisory boards of various international research programmes in the area of climate risk management. After obtaining his PhD in atmospheric sciences, Maarten worked on climate adaptation and disaster risk management at the World Bank, regional development banks, the OESO and various governments.

Maarten van Aalst
“We are confronted with enormous new risks, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the growing climate crisis. Science is vital for tackling these risks. As a member of the WOTRO steering committee, I look forward to contributing to a safer and more sustainable world, by bridging science, policy and practice, with particular attention for the most vulnerable people.”

Prof. Merle de Kreuk is Professor of Environmental Technology at TU Delft. She studied Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University and obtained her PhD from TU Delft. She is viewed as an excellent scientist and as a pioneer in the area of environmental technology. Merle de Kreuk received a Vidi grant from NWO in 2016. She is also the Dutch principal investigator of the NWO-AES programme LOTUS-HR that NWO is funding in collaboration with the Indian Department of Biotechnology. This project is aimed at the local treatment and reuse of sewage water, for which sewage is extracted from open sewers (drains) and treated to produce a water quality that can be used in the direct vicinity of this treatment plant.

Merle de Kreuk
“WOTRO funds and facilitates research for inclusive global development. There are many worldwide challenges on the agenda that I genuinely want to make a committed contribution to. One such example is the new knowledge needed about water purification in order to tackle problems in rapidly growing global cities. I look forward to a fruitful collaboration.”

Eric Beerkens, Team Leader NWO-WOTRO: ‘We are very grateful to Prof. Hellegers and Prof. Georgiadou for their contribution to laying a strong foundation for the steering committee. Although handing over to your successor once you have finished your period is quite normal, it nonetheless feels awkward to stop a collaboration that is working so well. On the other hand, we have every confidence that their successors, Prof. Van Aalst and Prof. De Kreuk, with their expertise, experience and enthusiasm will make a valuable contribution to the ambitions of NWO-WOTRO. With their arrival, we have once again ensured a diverse composition in which all scientific disciplines and the rich academic field are represented.’

The NWO-WOTRO steering committee

With effect from 1 January 2021, the composition of the NWO-WOTRO steering committee is as follows:

  • Prof. dr. Annelies Zoomers (chair), Utrecht University
  • Prof. dr. Maarten van Aalst, University of Twente
  • Prof. dr. ir. Merle de Kreuk, TU Delft
  • Prof. dr. Robert Lensink, University of Groningen
  • Prof. dr. Valentina Mazzucato, Maastricht University
  • Prof. dr. Bartel van de Walle, United Nations University - MERIT and Maastricht University
  • Prof. dr. Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Leiden University

More information about WOTRO

R. Kwakman (Robin)
Communication Advisor (Faculty ITC)