VSNU and Vereniging Hogescholen present International Vision to 140 Dutch ambassadors
On 28 January 2015, the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) and Vereniging Hogescholen (Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) addressed 140 Dutch ambassadors with regard to collaboration between knowledge institutions and the network of diplomatic missions. During an interactive session at Delft University of Technology, Karl Dittrich and Thom de Graaf presented their shared International Vision and explained the unique selling points of Dutch higher education. Subsequently, the ambassadors were given the chance to ask questions such as "What improvements do you believe can be made?" and "What opportunities are the knowledge institutions passing by?"
The opinion in the room was universal: there needs to be more collaboration between the higher education institutions, ministries and agencies. The ambassador from Berlin mentioned the Hannover Messe as a good example of such collaboration. At this event, Dutch institutions came together as one to paint a wonderful picture of the Netherlands.
In addition to better coordination, the ambassadors feel that more convenient information sources are needed, such as a list of grants within the EU. The Grantfinder tool of Nuffic (Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education) was mentioned here as an available source. The ambassadors indicated that it would be extremely helpful to have access to a convenient source of information in a central location.
Finally, international alumni were suggested as potential ambassadors for the Netherlands as a nation of knowledge. Once they return to their country of origin, alumni can encourage talented students and researchers to come to the Netherlands. One of the ambassadors suggested asking alumni to become an ambassador of the institution as standard upon their departure.
The Dutch ambassadors in Asia and Oceania have consulted further on this matter with the institutional directors, discussing how to boost collaboration between the knowledge institutions and the network of diplomatic missions and what would be required in order to do this.