Jaap van der Graaf Award presented to Heleen de Fooij

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The Jaap van der Graaf Award was presented to Heleen de Fooij MSc on 13 January 2017, during the 69th Drinking Water and Waste water Symposium (‘Vakantiecursus’) at Delft University of Technology. This annual prize is given in recognition of the best English-language article about waste water treatment, written by a student or researcher and published during the preceding year. The winning article, by De Fooij and co-authors, was published in the journal ‘Resources, Conservation and Recycling’ under the title ‘Wastewater as a resource: Strategies to recover resources from Amsterdam’s wastewater’.

An independent jury considered 39 entries, all of high quality. The names of the three finalists and the overall winner were announced during the Symposium. The jury members based their deliberations on five key criteria: societal relevance, innovation, practicality (with a view to implementation in the short to medium term), scientific content and language. Based on these criteria, a shortlist of 7 names was composed. The jury chose the article by Heleen de Fooij as overall winner by virtue of the suggested adaptive policy measures it contained. In the words of De Fooij: ‘In a world where resources are becoming increasingly rare, recovery and reuse is becoming more profitable. Adaptive measures, including the interaction between them, are suitable for dealing with an array of uncertainties and possibilities.’

Heleen de Fooij obtained her Master’s degree at the University of Twente in Civil Engineering and Management, with a specialization in Water Engineering and Management, which focuses on the behavior and control of water systems. De Fooij currently follows a traineeship in secondary education, working as a math teacher.

The Jaap van der Graaf Award is sponsored by consultancy and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos, which created the award in 2009 to mark the retirement of Jaap van der Graaf as Professor of Waste water treatment at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at TU Delft. Prof. van der Graaf has close ties with the Deventer-based company, having been its managing director from 1988 to 2003. The prize is awarded annually and the winner receives five thousand euros and a glass trophy.

Submitted articles should comply with the following conditions:

  • the subject is related to the urban water system (including drinking water, wastewater and sewerage) and contributes to a higher profile to Dutch expertise in this field
  • the author should be a student at a Dutch university or employed in professional practice in the Netherlands
  • if at the time of publication the author is not working (anymore) in the Dutch professional practice, the research should have taken place in the Netherlands
  • the article in English must be published in a peer reviewed journal in 2016
  • the subject must have practical applicability.

Entries are judged by an independent panel, which this year comprised Professor J.B. van Lier (TU Delft/Unesco-IHE, chair), Professor Dr G. Medema (TU Delft/KWR Water), A. de Man, (Limburg Water), Dr J. Verberk (Evides), Dr A.F. van Nieuwenhuijzen (Witteveen+Bos), C. Merks (Witteveen+Bos) and Dr H. Temmink, (Wageningen University/Wetsus).