Fons studied the bachelor's Biotechnology at the Wageningen University & Research, during which he personally focused on biobased activities as founder of IBBESS (International BioBased Economy Student SymbioSUM).
While most master’s programmes give the student an applied view of the matter, this programme tries to be more interdisciplinary. “This master’s offers a look on the complete value chain of the biobased economy, by bringing several departments together. The combination of the three offered specialisations gives you a broader view of all applications.”
The master’s Biobased Sciences brings several programmes together by combining agriculture, technology and governance. “While studying several master’s programmes is becoming increasingly challenging, this programme offers broad immersion.”
As Fons is busy specialising within the biotechnological field, he still is very much interested in other aspects considering biobased sciences. The second specialisation Biorefinery and Conversion is akin to biotechnology, but the programme is also comprised with courses about the principals of biobased and circular economy. Fons stresses that, however it is still important to specialise, it is also important to be able to metaphorically “look over your own shoulder” in addressing challenges of the development towards a more biobased society. “Society needs professionals that can think in systems and links, to discover novel approaches to existing problems concerning sustainability,” he says, “and that approach is clearer in this master’s than within a, for example, just biotechnological master’s programmes.”
The world is very complex and most people stay in their own niche. “This programme helps the student to create a vision for a more sustainable life.” This is done by evaluating production chains from scratch to implementation. “People in the bachelor’s Biotechnology are often interested in biobased sciences, but eventually turn to biomedical applications, where the margins are bigger. However,” Fons says, “everybody uses a toothbrush and not always medication. The impact is bigger on society, by applying your knowledge in improving a production chain of a seemingly simple product.”
“This master’s matches Wageningen”, as Fons says. This master’s “paints the bigger picture of biotechnology.”