48 Professors
314 PhD projects
960 Publications
101 Patents
131 Academic & industrial partners

Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology is a facilitating intermediary for trendsetting know-how development. Wetsus creates a unique environment and strategic cooperation for development of profitable and sustainable state of the art water treatment technology.

The inspiring and multidisciplinary collaboration between companies and research institutes from all over Europe in Wetsus results in innovations that contribute significantly to the solution of the global water problems. Wetsus’ scientific research program is defined by the private and public water sector and conducted by leading universities. Click here for available PhD positions.

Wetsus Mission
Wetsus develops key enabling water technologies to foster a sustainable and fair society in a healthy and circular environment. To achieve this, Wetsus creates an innovation community via trust-based networks of companies, universities and public bodies for generating, testing, and evolving innovative ideas and science based approaches within interdisciplinary PhD programs that shape innovations towards fruitful implementation, and where graduates become leaders in sustainable innovation.

Wetsus is part of WaterCampus Leeuwarden.

WaterCampus Leeuwarden is the physical core of the Dutch water technology sector and has the ambition to play a sector uniting role for the rest of Europe as well.
WaterCampus stimulates cooperation between (inter)national businesses, knowledge institutes and governments within the water technology sector, in order to create synergy for world class innovation, education and entrepreneurship.

This strengthens the global position of the European water technology sector. Additionally, WaterCampus offers a unique research infrastructure, and is a meeting point for scientists and companies from all over Europe.
The international cooperation organized and stimulated by WaterCampus Leeuwarden leads to knowledge, talent and entrepreneurship that contribute to solutions for global water problems.

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View from the
river Potmarge

Winter time

by night

Set up
for meeting

Our core values


Searching actively for and the development of trendsetting technological innovations which are applicable to society.


Focusing on inspiring relationships with our partners in order to create an effective network.


Our ability to keep promises and providing declared standards.


Creating a pleasant working atmosphere in which colleagues can grow professionally and personally.


Supporting and respecting each other in an open and safe environment.

Why Wetsus?

Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology, facilitates breakthrough innovations for water treatment technology.

Wetsus is a facilitating intermediary for trend-setting know-how development and uses a unique innovation model. Wetsus’ main activity is the coordination of a world leading research program. The inspiring and multidisciplinary collaboration between companies and research institutes in Wetsus results in innovations that contribute significantly to the solution of the global water problems.

Wetsus is organized around its aim to stimulate collaboration between the various public and private organizations that together constitute the water sector: i.e. between public companies, private companies and universities; between scientific chairs; and between regional, national and European policy makers. The Wetsus Open Community Cooperation Model (see figure) creates the synergy and momentum required to achieve major objectives. As per January 1, 2024, 105 companies annually invest some € 3.4 million in the demand driven € 16 million/year research program, with a long-term commitment. In the current Wetsus international know-how network, about 130 partners from all over the world, but with an emphasis on the EU, join forces in solving the global water problems.

Wetsus is a not-for-profit foundation located in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. In 2022, the Dutch government has appointed Wetsus as national institute for strategically important research (Dutch: SBO-instituut). Wetsus combines a campus approach with an international know-how network strategy. At WaterCampus Leeuwarden, multidisciplinary know-how, education and talent are concentrated, valorization and commercialization are accelerated and facilities are shared.

Companies, assembled in a Wetsus research theme, together determine the research program, which is executed in the Wetsus laboratory by the 26 involved research institutes. All research projects are performed under the responsibility of the participating universities. As per January 2024, 48 scientific chairs from all over Europe are involved.

Within the (inter)national scientific programs in Wetsus, research institutes and industry jointly implement market-driven, application-oriented, multidisciplinary, (pre)competitive scientific research in the field of sustainable water technology. This is typically done in four year-long research projects carried out by PhD students and their supervisors.

The research goal of Wetsus is to develop innovative and sustainable water technologies.
The scientific creativity required for that is to a large extent generated by the unique cooperation of over 50 know-how disciplines in one physical laboratory.

A dedicated Intellectual Property Rights policy is in place, to enable optimal cooperation, innovation and the commercialization thereof. This has proven to lead to successful innovations.

Innovation, partnership, reliability, joy and cooperation are the values around which all Wetsus’ activities are performed.

Wetsus’ distinguishing key success factors are: High trust cooperation through relatively small research themes, high commitment through long term cooperation contracts with companies and secondment agreements with universities, sharing of multidisciplinary knowledge from universities and companies in an idea driven program, strong involvement of SME’s, independent meeting place for scientists from all over Europe and valorization and commercialization support from WaterCampus Leeuwarden.

Regarding involvement in policy and programs for innovation, Wetsus is active on regional level (smart regional specialization in the Northern Netherlands), national level (direct involvement in national topsector Water & Maritime and TKI water technology) and European level (as member of Water Europe, ERRIN and the Water4All partnership, and as coordinator or partner in Horizon Europe, Interreg and LIFE projects).

In addition to Wetsus’ research role, Wetsus also fulfills two other main functions. A talent and education program is operated, in order to develop the human capital required to fulfill the innovation ambitions of the international water sector. Further, many activities in the field of stimulating spin-offs and entrepreneurship are performed to stimulate the translation of laboratory inventions into actual innovations applied in society.

Please click for all formal information (statutory object, ANBI-status and publication, Chamber of Commerce/financial report, remuneration, RSIN number). The annual report of the Supervisory Board can be found here.  

We are Wetsus

Towards an economy of value preservation | By Niels Faber


The realisation of a circular economy has thus far unfolded under the assumption that it would fit within existing economic arrangements. In practice, we witness many circular initiatives struggling to give shape to their ambitions, let alone develop to maturity. These past months, various material recycling organisations terminated their activities, seeing virgin alternatives from other parts of the world flooding the market at prices against they cannot compete. If the transition towards a circular economy (i.e. an economy of value preservation) is to be taken seriously, a new perspective on value in our economic system seems unavoidable, as the rewriting of the rules of the economic game. At this moment, current perceptions of value stand in the way of this transition both at micro as well as macro levels. Several contours for a collective exploration of new directions of value and economic configuration that foster circular transition will be addressed.

Searching Innovation for the Common Good | By Cees Buisman


In his key note he will conclude after a life of innovations that it is impossible that humanity will stay within the save planetary boundaries with innovation only. We should be more critical about the behaviour of the rich population in the world and more critical about new innovations that prove to be dangerous, like the PFAS crisis shows at this moment. In his keynote he will investigate how to look at the world that can stay within the save planetary boundaries, how should we change ourselves? It is clear if we only talk about the words of science and systems we miss the essential words of how we should cooperate and change ourselves. And his search for coherent save innovations. Which innovations will be save and will lead to a fair and sustainable world? And will lead to a world we want to live in.

Future-fit economic models: What do they have in common – how can they join forces? | By Christian Felber


There is a growing number of new sustainable, inclusive, cohesive, participatory, just and humane economic models. A possible next step in the discourse about them is the comparative analysis in order to find out key commonalities, potential synergies, and “requirements” for a future-fit economic model. The author and initiator of the Economy for the Common Good provides an overview of these „new sustainable economic models“ and compares them according to underlying values, principles, and practical ways of implementation. The keynote addresses the cooperative spirit of the conference and prepares the ground for its public highlight on the eve of June 3rd, the round table with representatives of diverse future-fit economic models.

The era of postgrowth economics | By Matthias Olthaar


The scientific debate on whether economies should always continue to grow increasingly becomes a political and societal debate. On the one hand further growth for the most affluent countries seems neither possible nor valuable, but on the other hand there is still lack of understanding and knowledge what a non-growing economy should look like and could best be governed. In this lecture we discuss various policy measures that can be realistically implemented, take into account government finances and aim at a higher quality of life despite a non-growing economy.

Democratic principles for a sustainable economy | By Lisa Herzog


Democracy is under pressure, and less and less able to stir the economy into a sustainable direction. Therefore, to stabilize democracy and to make possible the socio-ecological transformation of the economy, democratic principles need to be implemented directly in the economy. This is not only a matter of morality, but also has practical advantages. Democratizing the economy can increase legitimacy and take advantage of the “knowledge of the many” to accelerate the transformation. Democratic practices, especially deliberation, allow bringing together different forms of knowledge, which is crucial for the local implementation of principles of social and ecological sustainability. This talk explores what this idea means in more concrete terms, from democratic participation in the workplace to the democratization of time.

Market, state, association, and well-being. An historical approach | By Bas van Bavel


Over the past decades, markets have conventionally been seen as the best instrument to stimulate economic growth and enhance prosperity and well-being. The automatic link between markets and economic growth is increasingly questioned, however, as well as the automatic link between economic growth and enhancement of well-being. This has led to attempts to capture well-being development more directly than through GDP per capita figures and has produced a more variegated picture of well-being growth. Also, this has led to a shift of focus to other coordination systems than the market, as primarily the state but increasingly also the association. Analyses of the historical record suggest that especially the latter could be a vital component in future well-being.