Hoekstra was appointed practor of Fisheries, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Friese Poort training college.
A practor is an expert with research tasks at a vocational college, explains Hoekstra. ‘It means I work with the students to set up applied, practical research projects. I focus mainly on promoting innovation in actual practice.’
Hoekstra will be working on site at Friese Poort in Emmeloord and Urk two days a week. ‘Students at the college are trained for a specific profession, for example skipper or fisher. So it is important that they are aware of the latest insights from research. I bring the college that WUR knowledge and come back to Wageningen with the practitioner perspective; ideally, the two jobs should enhance one another. The research we do in Wageningen is not supposed to end up on a book shelf. The practor position is a way to test things out in practice and have an impact.’
Hoekstra sees a lot of sustainability challenges for the fishing industry. ‘How can fishers minimize emissions when they go out to sea in future? How can they fish without impacting nature after the ban on pulse fishing? I hope to find answers to these and other questions by drawing on the creativity of the students and local businesses.’
You can watch the installation of practor Geert Hoekstra here (in Dutch):