Sjoukje Heimovaara has been appointed as President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). She will start on 1st July 2022. Sjoukje Heimovaara is currently Managing Director of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group (AFSG) within WUR. She will succeed Louise O. Fresco, who will step down as President of the WUR Executive Board on 1st July after eight years.
"The Supervisory Board is very pleased with Sjoukje Heimovaara as the new President of the Executive Board. Heimovaara has a strong passion for WUR and a clear vision. She is open-minded with a focus to connect with people," says Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Chair of the Supervisory Board of WUR. "Her enthusiasm for WUR shines through in everything she does. She represents the social impact we aim for, and embodies the independent and critical academic attitude, something that is pivotal in a domain which is dynamic and where major breakthroughs will be needed in the years to come."
WUR alumna Sjoukje Heimovaara says: "WUR is a great institute. I am proud that as President of the board I will be able to contribute to shaping its future, one in which Wageningen can and must make an important contribution to a sustainable world. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are fundamental parameters, also regarding our business operations and cooperation. We can make this even more visible. We have a responsibility to next generations when it comes to the immense questions such as food security and safety, restoring biodiversity, urbanisation, climate change and climate adaptation as well as sustainable agriculture."
Heimovaara brings with her cross-sector experience, in government, contract research, fundamental research, higher education as well as the business world. Within WUR, she will continue to build on generating, applying and disseminating scientific knowledge from the fields of research and education for the benefit of society. As such she will aim to contribute to a healthier and sustainable world.
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Who is the new President
Dr Ir Sjoukje Heimovaara (1965) studied plant breeding at Wageningen University. After graduating, she worked for TNO and obtained her PhD in cell biology (1995) from Leiden University. From 2003 to 2019 she worked at Royal Van Zanten as R&D director and later as CEO. In March 2020, Heimovaara joined WUR as managing director of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group (AFSG). "I am convinced that in my role as President, listening will be of the utmost importance. I intend to spend a significant amount of time and attention talking to employees, students and our partners."
Among her additional positions, she is a member of the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI), which advises the government on policy in the fields of science, technology and innovation. In the coming months, these other additional positions will be transferred in line with the guidelines.
From 1st July 2022, the new President Sjoukje Heimovaara will form the WUR Executive Board together with Rector Arthur Mol (reappointed for a second term in 2019) and Rens Buchwaldt (reappointed in 2021). The remuneration of the new President of the Executive Board is in accordance with the Norming of Top Incomes Act.