SIAM PI Prof. Dr. Mark van Loosdrecht (TU Delft) member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering

25.05.2023 Took place today in China the formal ceremony with witch Prof. van Loosdrecht has been introduced as new member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
This is a very special and interesting event. In order to know more about it, we have asked few questions to Prof. van Loosdrecht:

– How did you reach this fantastic goal? What brought you close to China?
Becoming member of academies always depends on colleagues who think that your impact is worthwhile enough to become a member of the academy. I am happy with this recognition from my environmental engineering colleagues in China.
I came close to China because I like the Asian culture and also the efforts made (and needed!) to improve the environment. They are a great collaboration partner because of the eagerness to learn and develop innovative technology. I have been often in China in the last 20 years and interacted with many universities, but especially with the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, prof. Hao Xiaodi.

– What implies being a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering?
It is primarily a recognition of the engineering achievements. The CAE is an important advisor for the Chinese government, but as foreign member that will be limited. It is a good position to strengthen interaction between Europe and China. A small side aspect: I can use the VIP lanes at airports etc. 🙂

– Which are the main differences in approaching Engineering between China and Europe?
China has a more long term and integrated planning of the development. It seems government decides, but that effectively always happens after consulting relevant groups in society and balancing the interests. After a decision is reached the government however strongly supports the implementation and coordinates it. IN the last 15 years China moved from almost no wastewater treatment to a treatment similar to Europe. Considering the size of the country a very quick implementation and indication of the government to provide a clean environment for it’s citizens. Europe is still ahead in technology, novel aspects as carbon neutral treatment and resource recovery are only starting to be discussed while the waterboards in Netherlands are implementing this.

– Which is the most challenging research project(s) you had or you plan to have with Chinese partners?
I do not think there are challenging research projects, they are in general interesting. Due to differences in sewering and maintenance the wastewater reaching a treatment plant in China is quite different from that in Europe which gives new viewpoints on how the technology and bacteria inside it are responding to these differences.

– Does it mean you are also familiar with Chinese culture and language?
I am not familiar with Chinese language, but relatively well with Chinese culture.

Prof. van Loosdrecht tweet about the cerimony