In Memoriam: prof. dr. Rens Voesenek

Rens Voesenek, professor and until recently head of Utrecht University’s Biology department, has passed away on 28 March 2023. He graduated and obtained his doctorate at Radboud University, then called the Catholic University of Nijmegen.

Rens Voesenek studied Biology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, followed up with a PhD study at the Department of Experimental Plant Ecology under supervision of Prof. dr. Kees Blom. Both Master degree and doctorate were obtained cum laude. Together with Prof. Blom and colleagues, Rens gave shape to the research of the department focusing on stress adaptations of plants under flooding. He continued this work at Utrecht University where he was appointed as Full Professor in 1999. He developed a thriving research group on Ecophysiology of Plants, utilising novel techniques and exploring genetic pathways by which plant responses are regulated. In recent years, after he delegated his duties as department head to younger colleagues, he focused on uniting and positioning the field of Biology in the Netherlands. He chaired the task force that ultimately formulated the Sectorplan Biology, which was recently approved. Rens was subsequently appointed as head of the new Biology council, guiding and advising on research developments in the field.

We remember Rens Voesenek as an excellent scientist and we are much obliged to him for his inspiring and initiating role in the early days of the plant ecophysiological work at RIBES. Rens got things done. Perhaps we have seen his biggest qualities in recent years, formulating the common denominator for the field of Biology, connecting and unifying disparate positions towards an inviting prospect. Biological research in the Netherlands will profit from Rens Voesenek’s past achievements for many years to come. The RIBES expresses its condolences to Rens' family, friends, and colleagues.

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