Organisation - February 13, 2020

AFSG gets experienced woman director 

Albert Sikkema

Sjoukje Heimovaara will become the new managing director of WUR’s Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group (AFSG) as of 1 March. Raoul Bino’s successor has considerable managerial experience in both the private sector and science institutions.

AFSG krijgt ervaren vrouwelijke directeur 

©Guy Ackermans

Sjoukje Heimovaara (1965) was born in Friesland but has a Finnish surname as she is married to a Delft professor from Finland. She studied Plant Breeding at Wageningen and obtained a doctorate in Leiden. She then worked at TNO for 14 years and the plant breeding company Royal Van Zanten for 17 years.

WUR’s new director is open, direct and rational. Last year, Heimovaara stepped down as CEO of Royal Van Zanten after a ‘difference of opinion’ with the investment company that had acquired the company. So she clearly knows what she wants and is not much interested in the frills. But she is interested in knowledge and research. That is why she has held positions in Dutch Research Council committees, the employers’ association VNO/NCW and Plantum, the plant breeding sector association.

She became a member of the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI) four years ago. Last year, an AWTI committee she headed issued recommendations on higher education. She concluded that there was increasingly little difference between academic and applied universities, in part because of the funding system. ‘Everyone is chasing the same thing.’ She recommended introducing profile-based funding so that academic and applied universities seek to differentiate themselves more and collaborate more.

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  • Vrouwenquotum

    'Mogelijk minpuntje van de nieuwe directeur: ze kent de planten- en onderzoekwereld op haar duimpje, maar de voedingswereld nog niet zo goed.'

    Maar het is een vrouw, en dat is waar het om gaat, toch? Die ervaren persoon die het lef had om als man te zijn geboren wordt gepasseerd in het belang van politiek correct geneuzel.

    • Alcathous

      Zijn er wel mannen dan die zowel expert zijn op het gebied van planten en van voeding? Wist ook niet dat de WUR een quota had.