The Wetsus doctoral program has grown in the 10 years of its existence to a prime example of smart, regional specialization on water technology with a strong European connection between research institutes and industry partners. The research in the Wetsus program takes place in close collaboration with 90 companies that actively participate in the research through paying memberships to focused and high trust research themes. All Wetsus researchers have at least three contacts per year with these industry partners.

The research objective of Wetsus is to develop innovative and sustainable water technology. In our vision, such technology must be:

  1. Based on process technology
  2. A potential breakthrough solution
  3. Emission free
  4. Part of an endless cycle (cradle to cradle)
  5. Introduced into society by entrepreneurs

The combination of biological and chemical conversion technology with separation technology, high tech systems and new materials has high potential to develop important innovations in water technology, especially if researchers work in close collaboration, preferably at a single location. The critical mass of this program is concentrated in Wetsus’ interdisciplinary laboratory located in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. The research facilities are excellent.

The research involves many different scientific disciplines and focuses on the following five main research areas in clean water production and waste water treatment:

  • New water sources
  • Sustainable water supply
  • Waste water treatment and reuse
  • Reuse and production of components and energy from water
  • Detection of pathogens and micro/nano pollutants

In 2011 a peer review on the scientific results gave the following results.

Quality    Very good
Productivity    Very good to excellent
Relevance    Excellent
Viability    Very good to excellent

Since 2010, Wetsus publishes about 60 journal publications each year (peer reviewed international journals, indexed in “Scopus” and “Web of Science”). The average number of publications per PhD student is 4.3. Researchers at Wetsus publish regularly in the following journals (impact factor 2013 in brackets): Progress in Materials Science (25.9) and Energy & Environmental Science (15.5; 6x since 2012), Water Research (5.3), Environmental Science & Technology (5.5), Bioresource Technology (5.0), ChemSusChem (7.1), Journal of Membrane Science (4.9), and Desalination (4.0).

Since 2010, Wetsus publications are cited on average 2.2 times higher than the world average (ISI Web of Knowledge, Essential Science Indicators, categories Chemistry, Environment/ Ecology). This puts Wetsus as a research institute of its size (>50 publications annually), in the category "very high impact".

Summary research excellence Wetsus

  • Ca. 60 publications per year
  • In journals with high impact factor
  • Citations 2,2 times average
  • Institute has a “very high impact” based on “Van Raan” criterion
  • Dissemination is stimulated.
  • Inter-disciplinary cooperation
  • Intensive industrial collaboration

At the moment about 65 PhD’s work at Wetsus from all over the world. 63% of the staff and researchers are from outside The Netherlands. 36% of the PhDs working at Wetsus are female.

For more information about Wetsus see

combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance