ACT Award 2021

The Academic Consultancy Training (ACT) Award is an annual celebration to inspire and motivate ACT student teams to create science-based value for society. The ACT Award is organized by Society Based Education, which is part of Education Support Centre, Wageningen UR. The ACT Award is established during the farewell of Tiny van Boekel, the previous Dean of Education (2012-2017). Tiny van Boekel is well known for his work in the field of interweaving education with society.

The ACT Award 2021 goes to:


From farmland to sustainable food forest

Case-owner Green Heart Eco-Farm is aiming to reconvert 2.5 ha of former agricultural land into a sustainable food forest. The case-owner wants to produce food for the local community and allow them to reconnect with nature, while simultaneously supporting local floral and faunal wildlife.

The ACT student team created a booklet with information and advice on the implementation of the first three layers on the native food forest, based on the local abiotic conditions, such as temperature, amount of light, etc. The students gave insight concerning the incorporation of traditional hedges, as well as the formation of a more uneven topography, in accordance with the general goal of favouring wildlife. The ACT student team developed a visual medium to convey the nature of the project to relevant stakeholder.

The ACT Award committee was impressed by the creativity. The students used various research methods, and created more than just some advice. The students produced a book with dozens of native species that is used by the case-owner to plant 4000 trees at the farm.

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ACT student team: Irene Chiva Aymerich, Morgane van Dam, Merel Snijders, Raghav Sharma, Pam Hurkens en Salomé Rinzema

Case-owner: Kestrel Maher, Green Heart Eco-Farm

Coach: Michel Kropman

Academic advisor: Marcel Vijn

5 andere genomineerde projecten:

PFAS bioremediation: Putting nature to work

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made compounds with useful characteristics, but when exposed to humans, these PFAS compounds can cause several health issues. Case-owner Geofoxx is an environmental expertise agency, and wanted to know more about degrading PFAS compounds. The ACT student team was asked to give advice on what steps should be taken to apply Acidimicrobium sp. A6 in the remediation of PFAS in soil.

The ACT student team conducted a literature study and held interviews with international experts. The students wrote a advice report on the development of bacterial remediation technologies of PFAS contaminants in soil and groundwater in the Netherlands. Furthermore, they created a poster of the project.

ACT student team: Korlah Dorko, Anna Favaro, Fleur de Haas, Yujun Huang, Bas Tulkens, Hongyu Wang en Nienke Zwart
Case-owner: Luuk de Vetten (Geofoxx) – Coach: Jenny Kieskamp – Academic advisor: Tom Bosma

DELTA21: A Dive into the Future of Dutch Nature

Case-owner DELTA21 is working on the DELTA21 Haringvliet project that tackles three challenges: flood risk safety, sustainable energy storage and nature restoration. This concept can be applied to deltas and estuaries. The ACT student team was asked to give advice on the possibilities of establishing a sustainable and attractive nature park along the coast of Voorne and Goeree.

The ACT student team conducted a literature research and held interviews. The ACT student team wrote a comprehensive, hand-on advice on four pillars: 1) Park Regulations and Criteria, 2) Hydrological and Morphological processes, 3) Ecology and Nature restoration, and 4) (National) Park set-up. Furthermore, the students designed a digital flyer.

ACT student team: Kris van den Berg, Steven Heesterman, Kristina Hrelja, Emma Papasian, Lotte Roosen en Ymke Temmerman
Case-owner: H. Lavooij & L. Berke (DELTA21) – Coach: Beitske Bouwman – Academic advisor: Jasper Candel

Basic Substances as an Alternative Solutuion for Plant Protection

Strict regulations on pesticide usage have resulted in limited products on the pesticide market. Case-owner Woodchem-DeBroers wanted to have more insight in basic substances, who appear to have a positive perspective in crop protection with little known risks to the plants or environment. The ACT student team was asked to provide insight and knowledge in the mechanism of basic substances in relation to their potential use in plant protection.

The ACT student team focused on fungicides, 10 basic substances were selected. The ACT student team developed a decision support tool enables the case-owner to select potential basic substance candidates for solo or combinational use in crop protection. Furthermore, the ACT student team wrote a report with scientific information about the mechanism of the 10 basic substances in relation to their potential use in plant protection.

ACT student team: Andreas Markou, Bas Sijs, Haris Spyridis, Isabel Rigutto, Jacoline and Noortje Heidinga.
Case-owner: Michel Jansen & Cor Klaver (Woodchem-DeBroers) – Coach: Marjon van Opijnen – Academic advisor: Harold Meijer

Caffeine free coffee beans through genetic modification

Decaffeinated coffee can be created through decaffeination process, although this leads to additional expenses, reduced profits and altered taste. Case-owner Jacobs Douwe Egberts wants more insight into the feasibility of using genetic modification to produce decaffeinated coffee plants. The ACT student team was asked to investigate this and carry out a risk analysis for introducing this product to the Western market.

The ACT student team wrote a literature review about the state of art in genetic modification of C. arabica and C. canephore and how caffeine biosynthesis pathway can be modified to produce caffeine-free coffee plants. Furthermore, The ACT student team provided a risk and opportunity analysis about introducing a gene edited, caffeine-free coffee product on the Western market.

ACT student team: Nils Leibrock, Paul Mooijman, Joris Santegoets, Filemon Yusuf, Esmée Zutt and Xander Zuijdgeest
Case-owner: Thomas Imison (Jacobs Douwe Egberts) – Coach: Josette Jacobs – Academic advisor: Jan Schaart

Valorisation of potato waste streams

Case-owner Kiremko is curious about the valorisation of waste streams in the potato processing industry. The ACT student team is asked to provide a better understanding of the technical and economic viability of the valorisation of potato processing waste and wastewater treatment of the client.

The ACT student team wrote an academic report which was divided into three parts: 1) a market research, 2) the biorefinery processes, and 3) an economic analysis. The economic, regulatory and technical feasibility of on-site waste streams valorisation by biorefinery processes and wastewater treatment has been studied, taking a middle-sized potato processing plant as a model. Next to this, the students developed a poster of the main results of the project.

ACT student team: Ourania Michalopoulou, Annabel Oosterwijk, Alessia Ore, Hidde Politiek, Junjie Shi and Yudong Zhao
Case-owner: Govert Harmoen (Kiremko) – Coach: Ramona Laurentzen – Academic advisor: Paul Struik