Sustainable Island Solutions through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Sustainable Island Solutions through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Sustainability has become the watchword of governments, businesses and research institutes. Sustainability requires collaboration between institutions and disciplines, it cannot be translated in technological terms alone. However, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) do have an important role to play in sustainable development in the 21 st century.

The vulnerability of small island states to environmental and economic shocks requires a multidisciplinary response towards sustainable development. In this perspective it is evident that our countries, societies and industry demand future innovators, educators, researchers and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges both today and tomorrow.

Sustainable Island Solutions through science, technology, engineering and mathematics will embody sustainability policies on an academic level, supporting resilience in small island states while also educating a workforce that has the skill and capacity to make these policies a reality.

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Aruba & Innovation

Aruba & Innovation

The Aruban government appointed Chief Innovation Officer, Varelie Croes, as OCTA Innovation Director. Mobile Tech Lab, innovation pilot project, co-funed by the EU is progressing well. At the EU – OCT Forum held in French Polynesia last week, European Commission signed a €13 million contribution to establishing the Faculty of Sustainable Island Solutions through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SISSTEM) at the University of Aruba. This will make the University the region’s first academic hub in this field.

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Public-private partnership in Aruba

Public-private partnership in Aruba

Aruba is an exemplary OCT with its approach of the public-private partnership based on continual dialogue and knowledge sharing, pivotal to leveraging systemic innovation. Innovation strategy in Aruba is developed through consultations among all stakeholders, from both public and private sector.

For instance the sustainable knowledge committee gathers all important stakeholders in this field to have regular consultations on the subject. The role of this working group is to advice and facilitate consensus and formulate the implementation of the territorial strategy innovation that fits in the perspective of implementing the sustainable knowledge economy pillar.

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Creative industry in Aruba

Creative industry in Aruba

Aruba’s topics of the highest attention were Interactive Digital Media, Culinary and Agriculture Sectors. Through the technical assistance given by the expert Jacques Grysole, possible solutions have been found to enhance the creative industry as developing internships for Aruban students in Europe, having schools better equipped with digital technology and setting up a technical school in this field. Further actions should be developed to accelerate procedures or working permits, creating quality control laboratories, developing new agricultural products.

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Best beach in World – Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

Best beach in World – Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos


Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos has been awarded the title of best beach in World, voted by Travellers on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website.

“This beach has shades of blue and green which are just a feast for the eyes. The water is generally gentle making swimming easy. The easy slope makes wading into the ocean a delight. Just watching the waves lap upon the beach is just so serene. Watching the sunrise and the sunset was an experience beyond description,“ said one totally charmed visitor.

It is not the only the beach in an Overseas Country and Territory in the top 25 of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2018. Eagle Beach, Palm, Aruba and Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, took fourth and fifth spots respectively. 

OCT hotels featured in TripAdvisor’s 2018 list of best hotels in the World 2018 including The Tuscany, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos and Eden Rock, St Jean St. Barthelemy, placed 23rd and 24th respectively.

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Trade & export incentives in Caribbean Netherlands

Trade & export incentives in Caribbean Netherlands

Trade and export incentives for entrepreneurs of the Caribbean Netherlands and the Caribbean countries within the Kingdom.

As of 1 January 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened up the instruments for trade and export promotion to all entrepreneurs in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. Entrepreneurs with export ambitions from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and Sint Maarten can now take part in these instruments.

More information. 

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Future of food – Workshop in Aruba

Future of food – Workshop in Aruba

Workshop given by OCTA Innovation expert Jacques Grysole in Aruba: Future of Food on March 6, 2018. This workshop on creativity in agriculture was organised by Varelie Croes, new Aruba Innovation director.

Main questions were:

How can we design a better food ecosystem of tomorrow that is:

  • Creative and triggers curiosity
  • Aligned with Aruba’s DNA (see “Cu Mira Pa Futuro” tourism report)
  • Sustainable
  • Supports the main ambitions in the Innovation Framework – Isla Innovativo report
  • Applies the latest break-through technology
  • Personalized (based on lifestyle, genome and microbiome etc.)
  • A new concept: From the ‘human body’ to table (‘on-demand’)
  • Taking into account the various trends/themes below
  • Does not require big investment to get off the ground
  • Attracts international partners to create centres of knowledge / R&D and/or a test-bed economy.

Other sub-questions that could be addressed during the workshop:

  • Is there a present and/or future niche in the Future of Food space that Aruba can own?
  • What is the role of creativity in the food space?
  • How do we motivate and empower the citizens to get involved? Would the creation of a digital platform be the first building block? Something similar to this:
  • What export markets should we be looking at in the next 2 to 5 years?
  • What would a collaborate platform look like? Where do we start?
  • If a Food Blockchain + AI is considered, who should lead this initiative?
  • What data can we gather or should we be gathering through the food supply chain?
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‘Sustainable Caribbean’ tastes like more!

‘Sustainable Caribbean’ tastes like more!

“Sustainable Caribbean”, a meeting on sustainability in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

Around forty students and fifteen other guests came on January 12th 2018 to the ‘Sustainable Caribbean’ meet-up, an initiative of WeConnect Foundation in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research.

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More information in the Press Release.

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Sustainable Caribbean

Sustainable Caribbean

WeConnect , Dutch educational foundation in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research (WUR), is organising the meet-up ‘Sustainable Caribbean’ on Friday January 12, 2018.

The focus is on green and sustainable initiatives on the Caribbean islands and on how to liaise Antillean and Aruban students and young professionals with these projects. It is one of WeConnect’s initiatives to turn the brain drain on the islands into a brain gain and thus reinforcing the local employment market with homegrown talents.Read more


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