Dr. Ir. Sina Salim studied Biotechnology with a specialisation in Bioprocess Engineering. After his master’s and PhD at the university, he is now working as an innovation manager at the Reginal Centre For Technology (RCT). During his study, he would never have thought he would end up doing this work. But he is happy he did!
Could you tell us more about your current job?
"As an innovation manager, I am responsible for the area Foodvalley and North-Veluwe in Gelderland, the Netherlands. The province finances this centre to stimulate the regional economy. Small and medium-sized enterprises can contact me for free and ask for advice about process improvements, product development, energy reduction etc.
Frequently I bring them in contact with other stakeholders, like research centres, government or other companies. So one might say that I am building bridges between different areas to help small and medium-sized enterprises."
Is this what you always wanted to be when you started the MSc Biotechnology?
"During my study, I would never have thought that one day this would be my job. I had no idea what I would like and I am aware that this is not a common job for process engineers. Nevertheless, I enjoy this job as I am autonomous and I have diverse, short term projects.
When you are studying, it is anyways really difficult to imagine how a working day would look like. This is something you find out during your career. In the future I would like to learn more about other sectors, for example, the financing sector, to be able to give better advice."
What other jobs did you have after your studies?
"Before I have worked as an innovation manager, I have worked at RoyalHaskoning DHV. However, I realized that I did not like that I had not so many different projects and customers, so after 2 years, I decided to look for other opportunities. Then after that, I worked for the Bioprocess Pilot Facility in Delft and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Besides my work, I have also been active in the democratic political party (D66). During my 8 years of being a leader of D66 in Ede, I gained management and negotiating skills and I learned many things about regulations and financing. After 8 years I decided that it is time to give the new generation a chance."
How did studying at Wageningen University & Research prepare you for your career?
"The focus of Wageningen University & Research on sustainability contributes every day to my work and private life. Back then biobased materials were a niche market, but now more and more producers are interested in sustainability.
While I was at the university, I learned the most important soft skills during group work projects. We had the chance to work together with a diverse and international group of students, I learned how to motivate each other, make appointments, put clear borders, get things done and make compromises.
During my studies, I believed that these group projects are time-consuming, so I would have rather worked alone However, now I am conscious of the fact that I learned a lot during these projects."