Professor Jack Schijven is a modeller at the department for statistics, informatics and modelling of the of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). He is professor by special appointment for Quantitative Microbiological Water Safety at Utrecht University.

Portretfoto Jack Schijven
Fate and transport of microorganisms in the environment depends on numerous conditions. Fundamental knowledge of this is important to obtain solutions for the health risks associated with the dispersion of pathogenic micro-organisms, such as via water. Mathematical models can help with this. In research, experiments in the laboratory and the field are complemented with model development. It is this very combination that makes the research complete for me.

Jack Schijven followed higher science education in Breda and completed an education as an AMBI scientific programmer. In 2001, he obtained his PhD cum laude at Delft Technical University with a thesis on virus removal by soil passage.

As a research technician, Schijven conducted a few years of research at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, especially related to cancer genes localisation.

Jack Schijven has been working for RIVM since 1986. He started as a researcher in the area of quantitative water microbiology and partly in laboratory automation. He is currently working as a modeller for the department for statistics, informatics and modelling of RIVM. During his career, he has taken numerous post-academic courses, including in geohydrology, mathematical modelling, statistics and uncertainty analysis.

Project-wise, Schijven is dedicated to research conducted at the environment department (Milieu) of the Centre for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology. This is where he performs model based research on the transport of (pathogenic) microorganisms in surface waters and groundwaters. An important part of his activities are related to quantitative microbiological risk assessments for drinking water production in the Netherlands, commissioned by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).

Since 2006, Jack Schijven is working one day a week as an Associate Professor at the faculty of geosciences of Utrecht University within the Environmental Hydrogeology group. This is where he conducts and guides research on the transport of microorganisms in groundwater. On 1 April 2013, he has been appointed professor for the chair of Quantitative Microbiological Water Safety.

This field of research combines quantitative water microbiology, hydrology, geochemistry and risk analysis in an environmental and health sciences context. Transport models are being developed and embedded in quantitative microbiological risk assessments for public health purposes.
The research is an important basis for drinking water policies in the Netherlands, but microbiological water safety also requires much attention in the rest of the world.

Areas of expertise

  • Modelling of micro-organism transport via water
  • Quantitative microbiological risk assessments