Organisation - February 16, 2011

Ten million euros for expertise centre in water technology

Van Hall Larenstein and NHL University will jointly set up a new water technology expertise centre in Leeuwarden. This centre will enable students of applied sciences universities to carry out applied and short-term research projects in the area of water technology.

The ministries of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) and Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation (EL&I) will provide a million euros a year for five years to develop research programmes. 'Water companies' such as Vitens, Pacques, Landustrie Sneek and Wetterskip Fryslân, university water institute Wetsus, the applied sciences universities themselves and vocational institutes will together put in five million euros to co-finance the centre. The centre would be able to pay its way after five years with income from research and education programmes.
The new centre will be located in the building of Van Hall Larenstein. The existing Milieuhal will be reconstructed at a cost of two million euros, and laboratories will be refurbished. In addition, the Water Application Centre will get new equipment.
Research programme
In this expertise centre, companies can build experimental set-ups together with students for research into drinking water and waste water. Project engineers (graduates of applied sciences universities) will supervise the research projects. Paula van den Brink, lecturer in water technology at VHL and also attached to Wetsus, says that companies will jump at the chance of carrying out such short-term research projects.
The expertise centre fits in nicely with plans for the Water Campus of Wetsus. This will consist of, not only the VHL building and the current water companies in the Johannes de Doper Church, but also a big new building which will be constructed within three years. Many companies and organizations from the water sector will be located here. Van den Brink: 'There will be a strong combination of education, research and entrepreneurship. Very soon, water technology can be studied at every level: from middle-level vocational (MBO) water management, to higher professional (HBO) water technology and the Master's in water process technology, and eventually to PhD research in
Wetsus. All these programmes will reinforce one another.'