Petra Roubos has accepted the position of manager of the Shared Research Facilities (SRF) as of 1 January. She succeeds Petra Caessens, who has been appointed director operations of the WUR Plant Sciences Group. SRF intercedes in linking supply and demand for research facilities, both inside and outside WUR.
Over the last nine and a half years, Petra Roubos (1979) worked at Nutreco/Trouw Nutrition (feed division). First, as an R&D researcher and later as a product-group manager. She studied Food Technology and Human Nutrition in Wageningen and obtained her PhD researching health aspects in humans and animals (through models) and the diarrhoea inhibiting characteristics of fermented soy (tempeh).
Added value through collaboration
Her transition may appear an unusual one, but Petra sees apparent commonalities. ‘My previous job also focussed on facilities, mostly those needed for research purposes. In my new job, I see a clear overlap with my previous activities in terms of organising, project-management, dealing with stakeholders, advising and planning.’ As a researcher, she experienced an increased demand for more expensive techniques and equipment. Shared use of such facilities is necessary and useful for efficiency purposes, she says. ‘Not just from a financial point of view, but mainly for the collaboration that results from using shared facilities. Researchers from WUR, industry and start-ups have different approaches. Bringing them together creates added value.’
Long-term strategy WUR facilities
‘The availability of facilities and equipment partially influence WUR’s direction in the future. Thus, SRF contributes to a long-term strategy for our facilities.’ She elaborates on the AgriFood 2030 programme, in which SRF partakes. This programme strives to stimulate entrepreneurship and knowledge sharing by promoting the use of shared facilities as a means to improve collaboration in the region. ‘Within this programme, SRF will seek increased collaboration with companies and start-ups to create a larger knowledge network. We are considering shared use of test kitchens, labs and test production facilities for start-ups and other companies’.