Dutch Visitors Program
The Dutch government has a special program for talented people on a specific topic. This Dutch Visitors Programme (DVP) aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands through the exchange of professional and personal experiences between participants and their Dutch colleagues.
Recently Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga handed out a certificate, signed by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Dr. Piyush Joshi for participating in the Dutch Visitors Program on the topic of Biobased Economy. Dr. Joshi works for “The Energy and Resources Institute” (TERI), a leading Indian think tank which gives policy advice and conducts research in the field of energy, climate, and sustainable development. Dr. Joshi was closely involved in the EU-India project “SAHYOG”, in which the EU and India developed a Strategic Research Agenda supporting a roadmap for research on Biobased Economy and allied topics. For the occasion we spoke to him about his experiences of the program.
“Because of my field of expertise I was approached to participate in the DVP. I had been working on bio economy and allied topics in TERI, and this time the DVP program had a specific emphasis on that topic. For the DVP program one travels to the Netherlands and together with participants from different countries you are introduced to the academia, government, industries and the countries’ culture heritage, so you have a good idea of what and how the Netherlands is contributing to the field of bio-economy.
On a personal front I learned more about the Netherlands, since it was the second time I visited the country. I think I have a good impression of the country now because I went to Rotterdam, Zeeland, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Bosch and Wageningen. The companies we visited all contribute in different ways to a bio economy, varying from producing bio-fuel, bio-farming to managing waste for energy. So there are a lot of different aspects which can be combined in the bio economic form. It was a very nice program during which I got to learn a lot of different things from the Netherlands.
Special about this program are two individual tailor made days, during these two days I got to meet several leading people and visited organizations working on the topic of bio economy and bio-energy. Amongst others I visited a biobased training center in Zeeland and went to the HAS University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch. I got to learn how the HAS incorporated the topics of bio economy and bio technology into their curriculum and how they try to create awareness for this topic amongst the youth. I also visited companies like Orgaworld and Nettenergy, which was very inspirational for me, and I am still in contact with the people I met there for future collaborations.
The EU-India project SAHYOG was a collaborative program with seven European countries and six Indian institutes and universities, which lasted for three years. During this programme we first identified how much biomass and waste is produced in a year, then we tried to estimate how much energy potential there is in the country and what technology both the sides were using. Another aspect of the project was an exchange program and summer schools in India and the EU. The European participants first came to India to meet different partner institutes and to see what kind of research we are doing. Then the Indian participants went to three European countries (Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) to get an idea of the research going on in EU. After the project we gave policy recommendations to the government, and some suggestions on how we can improve our research in biotechnology and bioenergy fields, with a future roadmap towards a biobased economy.
My future plans have reformed as the years have passed by; at first I thought I’d like to stay abroad, but now I feel I want to visit and explore different countries and then come back to India to implement the techniques I have learnt from other countries. I would like to see myself playing a role in bridging the gap between different countries and sectors within the country, and bring the advance of the latest techniques to India. In the near future I hope to see that India would also organize a DVP-like program to boost knowledge exchange about India, so people from different parts of world see how and what India is doing in different fields.”