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The Jan IngenHousz Institute investigates how plants can use sunlight more efficiently and wants to ensure that engineers, data scientists, biochemists, biophysicists, geneticists and plant breeders communicate and cooperate with each other. At the same time, the Jan IngenHousz Institute aims to be a place where new scientific careers can blossom. Over the next few years, more than 30 PhD students and 60 postdocs will work on the research programme.

The establishment of the new institute involves an investment of €62 million over 10 years. The Philanthropic Fund  is making a contributing of 50 million. WUR is contributing 12 million euros, which is largely consisting of the deployment of staff and laboratories at a reduced rate.

About us

Jan IngenHousz Institute is led by David Kramer, recognized as a world-leading expert on photosynthesis and innovator of science tools. The Institute brings together two of Dave’s life passions: Understanding how photosynthesis powers life and can be improved, and bringing the tools and methods of science to the world.


Dave changed his life focus the day he realized that the world was changing so fast that photosynthesis might not be able to catch up. Dave started to ask himself new questions beyond basic research, like: How does photosynthesis limit productivity? Can we help solve world problems by making photosynthesis more efficient or more resilient?


A lifelong journey of constant innovation and science followed to build the tools to see photosynthesis work in the real world, in diverse plants, in real environments as it occurs. Dave realizes that we need new approaches to science. We need to involve many people across the world, from engineers, scientists, mathematicians, plant breeders and farmers. Farmers' input, what happens in their fields, is essential to solving the problem.

Prof. David (Dave) Kramer

Supervisory Board

Menno Witteveen
Martin Kropff
Sjoukje Heimovaara
Egbert van der Pol
Ernst van den Ende

About Jan IngenHousz

The Jan IngenHousz Institute takes its name from Breda's IngenHousz, an 18th-century Dutch physician and chemist. He studied medicine at the University of Leuven and moved to England soon after graduating.

With his idea of using inoculation against smallpox not individually but in groups, he became the founder of the vaccination campaign. He vaccinated George III's court, but also the village of Hertfordshire. As a mark of gratitude, he became the king's personal physician. He later travelled to Vienna to vaccinate the family of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa and subsequently served as court physician.


IngenHousz had plenty of time to do research and built on the experiments of Joseph Priestley whose famous experiments under glass jars led him to discover that plants use light energy to grow. IngenHousz discovered that this ability is located in the chloroplasts in plants. He also discovered that plants do not purify air, as was assumed until then, but produce pure air (oxygen) themselves.


Collaboration was a high priority for IngenHousz. He is remembered today as an open and critical global citizen, a social man with an international outlook. These are the values on which the Jan IngenHousz Institute aims to build further.

Are you a passionate researcher and concerned with photosynthesis? Are you a researcher at a university or research institution and see opportunities for collaboration? Or is a position at the Jan IngenHousz Institute something for you? Get in touch! 

In the near future, you can also participate in research through our open scientific platform that is accessible to a community of hundreds of research groups around the world. The platform enables this broad community to measure photosynthesis in new ways in many crops.

Be part of our research team

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