Science - September 20, 2019

Staff to decide how to allocate research cash: Vote for the best protein project

Tessa Louwerens

WUR staff will be given a say in funding research on the protein transition. Their votes will be the deciding factor in the allocation of research money to various projects.

The new initiative, which is called Community Funds, is intended to get the WUR community involved in the development of the research agenda. ‘We want to ask staff which solutions are the most appealing, not just for scientists but also for the general public and consumers,’ says Emely de Vet, professor of Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles and the Community Funds coordinator.

The protein transition is one of the three big investment themes at WUR. Over five million euros will be available for this over the next few years. About a third of that money will be for the Community Funds. There will be a number of rounds in which researchers can propose projects. In the first round of voting, 600,000 euros will be divided among innovative research projects looking at new ways of facilitating the protein transition. Examples are alternative sources of protein, more efficient utilization of proteins, changing consumption patterns or policy measures.

The evaluation committee has already made a preliminary selection of seven eligible research proposals from the submissions. The precise allocation of the money will now be up to WUR’s staff. Each employee gets one vote. If everyone votes, each vote cast will be ‘worth’ 100 euros.

People can go to the Protein Transition Investment Theme group page on the WUR intranet to vote. More information about the content of the projects can be found there, but the project leaders’ names have been left out. ‘We did that deliberately,’ says De Vet. ‘We want people to vote for the idea, not the person and their CV. The projects could come from anyone: professors, PhD candidates, groups or one individual with a wild idea.’

The project leaders' names have been left out as we want people to vote for the idea

The deadline for voting is 24 September. The results will be announced on Monday 30 September during Protein Community Day. More Community Funds rounds will follow. These will be announced later