Round Table with Minister Bussemaker agrees to 100 Brazilian-Dutch Dual PhD Degrees for Biobased Economy by 2025

augustus 13, 2015

São Paulo, August 13, 2015 – On the 13th of August 2015, in honour of the visit of Minister Jet Bussemaker (Education, Culture and Sciences) to Brazil, a Round Table was organised on human capital development for the biobased economy. Over 30 Brazilian and Dutch industry and academic leaders underlined the importance of joint development of sustainable biobased production of energy, fuels, chemicals and materials and concluded that high level education is the critical next priority. They agreed to extend the Dual Degree PhD program to educate 100 PhDs by 2025. The event was hosted by FIESP (Industry Federation of São Paulo State) in São Paulo and co-organised by BE-Basic Foundation, TU Delft and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In the Round Table today, key players from Brazilian and Dutch academia and industries underlined the importance of joint development of sustainable biobased production of energy, fuels, chemicals and materials to substantially decrease Green House Gas emissions and improve social and economic development. They concluded that educational development is the critical next priority in the collaborative programs of BE-Basic, NWO and FAPESP and their linked partner organisations. Presently, Dutch and Brazilian industries are expanding their capacity in biobased production in Europe and Brazil of biofuels for  aviation, sea and road; materials and chemicals. This requires more highly skilled personnel, including on entrepreneurship and start-up business development. Professor Luuk van der Wielen (President of BE-Basic): “The last 3 years, BE-Basic and our Brazilian partner organisations have professionalised our collaborations through the BE-Basic Office. All of us feel it is well timed to expand and accelerate the development – The Netherlands as 2nd largest investor in Brazil has both a responsibility and opportunity to step up. Adjacent sectors benefit as well.”

Participants agreed to expand the TUD-UNICAMP jointly supervised doctoral program leading to one Dr degree testified by diploma’s issued by both partners (Dual Degree PhD) to include more universities such as USP, and adjacent fields (e.g. Aviation, Civil Engineering and Construction) and quadruple the number of Dual Degrees by 2025. Industry representatives from Braskem and DSM showed strong interest to participate in such joint programs for future and current employees.

The collaborative program of BE-Basic partners is linked to the São Paulo Bioenergy PhD program of UNICAMP, USP and UNESP. Several courses focus on entrepreneurship, such as the course “Business Development Beyond Bioethanol”. Eduardo Giacomazzi of the Sao Paulo employers’ organisation FIESP: “New business development is crucial for economic development in biobased technology, the MOOC–approach will help to reach thousands if not ten thousands of new entrepreneurs”. To complement hands-on training and increase student access, the Minister launched the joint TUD-UNICAMP Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Industrial Biotechnology’. Participants agreed that more tools to reach much larger audiences should be developed on subjects on industrial needs.

Minister Jet Bussemaker concluded that the joined forces of The Netherlands and Brazil in biobased development uniquely add value for future generations. “Students of today grow up in a global economy with major global societal challenges. The programs of BE-Basic and their Brazilian partners uniquely provide the skills and knowledge that are needed to face these challenges of the future”.