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Prof. Gerard Dijkema obituary, June 25 1962 – January 10 2017

23 January 2017
Prof. dr. ir. Gerard P.J. Dijkema
Prof. dr. ir. Gerard P.J. Dijkema

We deeply regret the unexpected death of prof. Gerard (Gerhard Pieter Jan) Dijkema on January 10 2017.

Since August 2014 Professor Dijkema held the chair Energy Systems and Industrial Ecology in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Groningen (RUG). He directed the Center for Energy and Environmental Sciences IVEM of the Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG).

Gerard Dijkema was born in Veenhuizen. After the Latin High School in Assen he studied chemical engineering at the Technical University Twente from 1980- 1986. After graduation he was employed for five years by Shell International in the Hague. During that period he was also a member of the start-up team of the NAM natural gas –desulphurisation unit in Emmen.

In 1990 he married Elly van der Gugten. They got two children, Jenske en Roeland.

In 1991 Dijkema he joined Interduct, the Clean Technology Institute of the Technical University Delft (TUD). He directed his research at the large scale process industry and the intrastructure for electricity and waste management.

From 1996 he was a member of the Energy and Industry group of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at TUD. The general theme of his teaching and research was the interaction between industry, government and management with an emphasis on innovation for improved sustainability through systems thinking and sound technology. He also focused on decision support for the development and transition of large-scale systems spanning industry and infrastructure sectors.

In 2004 he defended his remarkable PhD thesis entitled “Process System Innovation by Design; Towards a Sustainable Petrochemical Industry “. In the same year he became an Associate Professor. Together with his PhD and Masters students he conducted a large number of research projects aimed at issues ranging from transport systems for natural gas and electricity to waste water treatment and the systems analysis of harbours and industrial complexes. In his research he focused on life cycle analysis, agent-based modelling, systems dynamics and process engineering. He published widely and he was also teaching about many of these topics.

From 2005 till the middle of 2014 he served as an elected member of the General Board of the Waterschap (Waterboard) Delfland.

From August 1 2014 Gerard Dijkema was a professor at RUG. Full of enthousiasm he embraced the wide range of tasks associated with his chair in Energy Systems and Industrial Ecology. He was successful in obtaining grants for innovative research projects and in attracting PhD students from around the world. He introduced new courses, and tutored students in the MSc programme Energy and Environmental Sciences. He was also actively involved in the design and execution of the RUG - wide MOOC “Solving the Energy Puzzle” aimed at the global energy transition .

He maintained a widespread international professional network, gave many lectures in the Netherlands and abroad and was very active within the Industrial Ecology community e.g. as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. His impressive series of articles from his period at TUD was expanded further art RUG.

Gerard Dijkema was a dedicated husband and father. He enjoyed nature and he was an experienced bird watcher and photographer. He travelled frequently abroad with his family. A trip to Peru was a genuine highlight for him and his family.  

We will remember Gerard as a dedicated, intensely engaged and energetic man whose life ended far too early. Our thoughts and condolences go to his wife, children and his other family members.

Last modified:22 January 2018 2.47 p.m.
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