Science - October 12, 2017

Coalition agreement has good news for WUR

Albert Sikkema

The newly formed Dutch government intends to bring ‘green’ education under the ministry of Education. This could mean more education funding for Wageningen University & Research. Also, an additional 200 million euros is being allocated to applied research, says the coalition agreement for the Rutte III cabinet.


The transfer of green education from the ministry of Economic Affairs to the ministry of Education may work out well for WUR, as long as that ministry fully offsets the growth in student numbers at Wageningen University. The chances are that it will do so, because the cabinet wants to review the funding system for higher education, ‘with particular attention to technical programmes’. This implies that the technical universities and WUR will get a larger share of the education budget.

The cabinet is also raising the budgets for both fundamental and applied research by 200 million euros each. And it will twice be making 50 million euros available for research infrastructure at the institutes for applied research.

The basic student grant is not being reinstated, but the cabinet is going to halve tuition fees for the first year, starting from 2018. The cabinet will also be keeping an eye on the accessibility of higher education. Universities have to be able to give good reasons for selecting students, and use a transparent selection procedure, otherwise the government will intervene.

The cabinet wants to put the brakes on the increase in English-taught education programmes. There will be stricter supervision of compliance with the rule that programmes should only be in English if it has added value, the quality is adequate and there are enough programmes in Dutch.