Following a brief illness SRON director dr. Roel Gathier (1953) passed away on 14 March. As SRON's Managing Director, but also as chairman of ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC), he exerted a strong influence on both national and international space research. His untimely death has left a vacuum, which will be hard to fill.
Roel Gathier had been a member of the SRON directorate since 2000 and since 2010 he shared this responsibility with professor Rens Waters. As Managing Director, Gathier was responsible for translating the scientific goals into a feasible institute program and for realizing a more efficient management of the institute. From SRON's side he was also coordinating the plans for the relocation of SRON Utrecht to the Amsterdam Science Park. He performed these tasks with considerable vigor and a great deal of success.
Thanks to his own research background, Roel Gathier was a dedicated supporter of international space research and he facilitated and welcomed science communication and science outreach. He was chair of the Sonnenborgh Foundation, Museum and Observatory (and also member of the Advisory Committee), and he was a member of the board of Space Expo Noordwijk.
The Dutch space research community will certainly miss Roel Gathier's communication and management skills. Roel Gathier died at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam. He had been admitted there shortly before due to a diagnosis of lung cancer. Gathier was married with three children.