Mirjam Blokker, a Principal Scientist at KWR, was recently appointed chairperson of TVVL’s expert group on Sanitary Techniques. TVVL is the building services technology platform, which is dedicated to a future in which technology is placed at the service of people and society. In her role as chairperson, Blokker aims, among other things, to contribute her (scientific) knowledge of drinking water installations, water consumption, Legionella, lead, etc., to installation practice through design rules and standards. ‘In substantive terms, to me the biggest opportunities are in projects that contribute to the energy transition, climate adaptation and the circular economy,’ says Blokker.
Extending field of knowledge
The researcher also shares her experience in the organisation of knowledge development through the design of new research projects. ‘Chairing the expert group gives me the chance to learn more about other aspects of sanitary techniques, such as rainwater discharge and indoor sewage systems. This will not only extend my own field of knowledge, but KWR’s as well. As chairperson, I am more actively involved and I can’t hide behind my own specialty. I also hope to bring a little professionalism to the meetings.’
Blokker has been a member of the Sanitation Techniques expert group since 2018. Over the past two years she has seen how much the expert group contributes to installation technique innovations. ‘The “plumber’s trade” can also benefit from innovation,’ she says. ‘By working a lot more with computer simulations, for example.’ For Blokker, becoming the chairperson means for instance that she will be able to introduce a good progress-report system, which makes more time available for good, substantive discussions. The researcher also hopes to gain a better understanding of the subsidy streams, with a view to the funding of projects.
Standards and guidelines
The expert group commissions research that has repercussions on standards and guidelines. Blokker: ‘I believe that it is important that the research be carried out by good parties, that its quality can be properly assessed, and that the results reach the people in the field. Here, the expert group has a role to play, namely: determine what research is important, select the party to conduct it, and share the outcomes through reports, the trade publication and meetings. I think that the quality assessment aspect could be strengthened, by questioning the researcher more critically and proposing practical case studies for validation. I feel I can do this effectively, thanks to my many years’ experience, and to my background as both a researcher and quality controller, and coordinator in the Joint Research Programme of KWR with the water utilities.’