News - October 29, 2015

20 prime research groups in Wageningen

Albert Sikkema

The international visitation commissions who visited the Wageningen graduate schools appreciates Wageningen research. Twenty of the ninety chair groups where assessed as excellent on all three criteria – scientific quality, social relevance and viability.

Six years ago, when the six Wageningen graduate schools were also evaluated, nine groups received the highest scores. Not only are there now more prime groups, also the performance of many of the other chair groups has improved compared to previous evaluations, according to the commission. The Wageningen PhD candidates receive an outstanding education at the graduate schools, observed the approximately sixty international researchers, who read the self-evaluation of the graduate schools and spent four days conducting interviews with the graduate school directors, professors, academic staff and PhD candidates.

The commission give all the chair groups, also the prime groups, advice on how they can improve further. Multiple commissions indicate that a relative large portion of the approved PhD candidates and postdocs were educated in Wageningen. The commission questions if this inbreeding is just, or if some better external candidates were overlooked. They also advise the chair groups to mutually work on researching new knowledge fields and to realise social impact.

One point of attention was also that one commission assessed the groups more strictly than the other, which is the reason that the scores of the different chair groups of the different schools are not always comparable. ‘Comparing the different reviews leads to incorrect conclusions’, the commission chairman Barbara Cannon states, she assessed the Wageningen Institute of Animal Science (WIAS).