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The world requires solutions to growing existing and new problems in the availability and quality of water for personal, agricultural, industrial use and nature.
At the same time, the focus must be on sustainable solutions for these problems, requiring less energy, reusing valuable minerals and metals and low or no production of greenhouse gasses. Thereby, enabling higher water availability with a lower environmental footprint. Traditional engineering solutions will not be able to provide solutions for these challenges that our society faces now and in the future.
New water process technology will be necessary to develop new concepts to treat waste water and to produce clean water from alternative sources like salt (sea) water, waste water or humid air to minimize the use of precious groundwater.

The research objective of Wetsus is to develop innovative and sustainable water technology. In our vision, this technology must be:
• based on process technology
• a potential breakthrough solution
• emission free
• part of an endless cycle (cradle to cradle)
• introduced into society by entrepreneurs

As part of the Dutch Topsector Water approach within Wetsus research institutes and industry jointly implement market-driven, application- oriented, multidisciplinary, (pre)competitive scientific research in the field of sustainable water technology.

Wetsus focuses on research and development of entirely new concepts and on breakthrough improvements of existing technology. In both cases, an entirely new approach has been chosen whereby the basic principle is always the integration of various knowledge disciplines. In addition to collaboration between industry and universities, there is also unique scientific collaboration within Wetsus.
Many scientific chairs from multiple scientific disciplines cooperate in the program. Leading researchers from various universities and other research institutes can physically work side-by-side in the Wetsus laboratory. This unique collaboration brings synergy and new creativity to the search for new sustainable water treatment technology.

Not only new solutions are needed but also new minds that can develop and bring further breakthrough concepts. These future leaders of the sustainable water technology sector should have, next to high scientific standards, a high societal awareness.
The interdisciplinary scientific nature of the Wetsus research and the intensive collaboration between companies and research institutes create a unique multi-faceted learning environment for this as shown on the right. A dedicated personal development program has been developed (on top of that of researchschool) to enable the PhD-student to develop personal skills required to make a meaningful contribution.

Research projects are defined within a research theme during an idea driven iterative process between the participating commercial parties and invited academic researchers. This leads to a clear business orientation combined with excellent academic quality of the research activities. The final project proposal is evaluated by the management board and by an independent program council. The program council, consisting of independent experts from the field, advises the management board on the project proposal based upon three pre-def ned criteria. Based upon this advice, the management board decides on acceptance of the proposal after positive evaluation of its strategic fit in the program and its financial feasibility. In the program, in which 51 professors are connected, the focus is on the following five main research areas in clean water production and waste water treatment.

  1. Sustainable water supply
  2. Waste water treatment and reuse
  3. New water sources
  4. Reuse of components and production of energy
  5. Detection of pathogens and micro/nano pollutants

100th Wetsus defense, Gerwin Steen and his paranymphs

23 EU universities and research institutes participate in Wetsus

Wetsus research themes
Overview of all themes