Gaining fresh perspectives at Deltares

MixITiN ESRs Anna Ansch├╝tz, Maira Maselli and Claudia Traboni report from Delft

July 2018

Deltares is located close to the beautiful historic Dutch town of Delft, origin of the prized Delft blue pottery and home to the Dutch royal family.

Little canals cut everywhere through the town and the surrounding idyllic, windmill-sprinkled landscape. The canals and lakes are richly populated by a plethora of waterfowl, all of which were busy raising their young during our stay. Biking to work every morning smelling green fields was nice.

The non-profit institute focuses on applied aquatic research with a strong emphasis on policy making and draws from multiple disciplines in science with an extensive international network.  Its aims include the enabling of sustainable life in coastal regions and management of ecosystem services. As the MixITiN project aims to train us in international networking while many mixotrophic organisms link into subjects of ecosystem management, economics and social sciences, our secondment at Deltares gave us new insights into this working environment in contrast to our previous backgrounds.

Learning how to communicate our research to engineers, policy makers and the general public enabled us to see our topics from a different perspective. It made us realise important aspects of our topic formerly hidden from our perspective of pure scientific interest. We got a sense of real life application of research by learning about large scale models and European policies for the marine environment. Since we may have prematurely dismissed policy making as a dry subject compared to science, our experience at Deltares was surprisingly positive.

The working atmosphere was relaxed, we met very skilled and warm people to enjoy the life of the institute with. Needless to say, harmony and cooperation were the pillars of our joint team work. The secondment was mind opening, enabling us to take on the perspective of policy makers. And we guess this was the goal indeed!