Gerard Van Bilzen, born in 1951 in Weert, the Netherlands, studied Industrial Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He started his career in Peru in a joint research project, involving the Dutch Universities of Tilburg and Eindhoven and the Universidad Católica in Lima. From there, he moved to the Delft University of Technology, where he was Director of the Centre for Appropriate Technology. Finally, he moved in 1983 to the Directorate General for International Cooperation of the European Commission, where he was Desk Officer for Zambia, Deputy Head of the Financial Unit of the European Development Fund and Head of the Training Unit. He retired in 2011.