I (Irma) Steemers-Rijkse

I (Irma) Steemers-Rijkse

Programme Manager Water Treatment & Technology

After having worked in the water treatment B2B market for a long time, I started as Business Development Manager at the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research institute (WFBR) in May 2019. With my comprehensive knowledge of water, production processes, and (bio)chemical specialties and extensive experience in the industry, I want to contribute to sustainable and circular water solutions. In order to expand, integrate and frame our activities within this area, the WFBR launched a new programme at the end of 2019: Water Treatment & Technology (WTT). As Programme Manager of WTT, it is my aim to work with stakeholders on economically viable and sustainable solutions.

The propositions we are working on within the WTT team, is the reuse of water and nutrients, desalination, (waste) water purification and the development of biobased water treatment chemicals. But also disinfection technologies and quick micro-organism monitoring are subjects of research. Next to Wageningens well-known agriculture, horticulture and food domains, the market we are acting on is relevant for all types of industry, as they are likewise extensive water users. All domains are part of the complete water chain and have similar issues, like the need for sufficient and clean, fresh water. Working on the WUR-campus gives me the chance to develop a trans-disciplinary approach for water related issues, which benefits results and is interesting to me.

My career started at TNO-ITC (polymer membrane research) and the bio-organic chemistry department of the University of Utrecht (research on carbohydrates). From 1987 until 2019, I have worked in the chemical water treatment business on R&D, product management, customer & sales support, project management, commercial market development and business strategies at several private entities. In the last 20 years of my career, I focused on biodegradable compounds, sustainable solutions and innovation routes. This interest brought me to Wageningen.

I have studied in analytical chemistry, environment, technology & ecotoxicology and management, but I am always learning by exploring challenging activities. For this, the WUR society is an excellent environment.