Alumnus Bas Bolman - MSc International Development Studies

Bas did both the bachelor and master in International Development Studies in Wageningen. He chose Wageningen University because it is a smaller university with a personal approach. The interdisciplinary approach and international focus immediately appealed to him. Bas specialised in Communication, Technology and Policy. Because of his interest in seas and oceans, Bas’ profiling courses were on marine resource management.

During the master I learned to think critically and outside the box


After graduation in 2007 Bas had several assignments at the university. In 2008 he became conference coordinator at MARE Centre for Maritime Research at UvA Amsterdam. In the same year he was hired as process coordinator at the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. He left the ministry in 2010 and started his current job at IMARES Wageningen UR, an institute for marine ecological research to acquire knowledge of and give advice about sustainable management and use of marine and coastal areas. Bas started as project leader and is programme manager since 2012. Most of his time is spent on business development, coordination and low profile management.

His main responsibility is coordinating the Arctic Programme of Wageningen UR. The programme aims to develop tools for reducing environmental impacts of Arctic operations such as oil and gas, shipping, fisheries and harbour development. Within the Arctic Programme his job includes coordination between the involved institutes of Wageningen UR, acquiring new projects, undertaking business missions in the Arctic and visiting conferences. In addition he contributes to Arctic research on geopolitics, cross-border marine governance, and multi-stakeholder analysis.

During his studies Bas learned about different stakeholders and interests, which is very applicable in his current job. How to involve stakeholders in the early stages of projects in order to create legitimacy and ownership during the project instead of afterwards. The interdisciplinary focus of the programme in Wageningen helped Bas to connect and fine tune with a variety of stakeholders.

Study Programme

“For my Master thesis I lived in Chile for half a year to explain the fast development of the salmon sector. An important explanation is the manner in which the licences system is organised. In other words, who has the right to use a resource? If you understand the rules of the game being played with the licences, you also understand why and how companies utilise marine ecosystems. Contrary to most studies, I found that the Chilean government has actively stimulated the salmon sector by searching for expertise abroad. When the first profits were made the government gradually stepped back and privatised the sector.”

Bas’ ambition is to gain a highly varied work experience with the different stakeholders. Therefore he plans to work for governments, companies, science and NGOs.

A little advice for current and future students? “Developing a strong network during your internship and thesis is of great importance to increase chances for a first job. A passion for a specific discipline, subject or country is very useful to guide your studies. Do an internship and gain experience abroad to get out of your comfort zone. This is when you learn the most. Adjust to circumstances, but stay true to yourself. Distinguish yourself in a positive way and find your niche in order to deliver added value to yourself and your employer”.