Dr. Ir. Doris van Halem

Doris van Halem is associate professor in the field of drinking water treatment, with a specific focus on groundwater contaminants, including arsenic and fluoride. Her research has a global orientation with an emphasis on filtration systems for low resource environments. The past years she has been leading PhD/Postdoc research projects in Bangladesh, India, Nicaragua as well as the Netherlands, supported by NWO-WOTRO (SAR/DELTAP), NUFFIC, NWO-TTW (FixAs) and Delft Global. Her research interests include:

  •  As-Mn-Fe oxidation and adsorption mechanisms in rapid sand filters
  • Arsenic removal from geothermal waters (nanofiltration)
  • Slow sand filtration: ripening and clogging mechanisms
  • Household water treatment and safe storage in developing countries
  • Low-cost adsorptive fluoride removal
  • Virus removal during ceramic pot filtration (biofilm, Ag/Cu)
  • Healthy reuse of treated waste water in urban mega-cities
  • Mobile crowd participation as novel tool for end-user inclusive global water research

Doris graduated from Delft University of Technology in Civil Engineering and Geosciences with a cum laude MSc degree (2007). During her studies she developed an interest in global drinking water challenges, illustrated by her internships in Sri Lanka and Benin, resulting in an MSc thesis “Ceramic silver impregnated pot filter for household drinking water treatment in developing countries”. The thesis was awarded the Gijs Oskam award for best MSc dissertation 2007-2008 in the field of drinking water treatment.

In 2011 she completed her PhD research (with honours) on subsurface iron and arsenic removal for drinking water supply in Bangladesh under the guidance of prof. J.C. van Dijk (TU Delft) and prof. dr. G.L. Amy (Unesco-IHE). This research was executed in close collaboration with UNICEF and DPHE, and awarded with the Steven Hoogendijk award for best PhD dissertation of TU Delft by “Het Bataafsch Genootschap der Proefondervindelijke Wijsbegeerte”.

As assistant professor at Delft University of Technology, Doris has acquired an impressive portfolio of projects with funding from NWO (WOTRO, TTW) in collaboration with the Dutch drinking water sector, (inter)national NGOs and other universities. These projects have allowed her to build a stable team of PhD and postdoctoral researchers. In 2013, Doris worked as a visiting researcher at EAWAG (Zurich) with the Sandec group to develop new strategies for household water treatment. In 2015, she received the UNESCO-L’Oreal For Women in Science award to further develop this research theme during a 5-month fellowship at KNAW NIAS.

Apart from supervision of BSc and MSc thesis students, Doris is lecturing BSc course Introduction to Water Treatment (CTB3365) and MSc course Water Treatment (CIE4703), and she is responsible for the new MSc Environmental Engineering course Water Treatment Research (CIE5704). Since 2013, Doris has been an active contributor to the development of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on drinking water treatment (Edx.org) to make water treatment knowledge freely available around the world.

Doris van Halem