In the next four years, the university will train between 80 and 100 PhD candidates from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). The first group of 20 PhD candidates received an introductory course in Beijing between 6 and 21 September.
<Photo: Claudius van de Vijver of Wageningen Graduate School and Roger Staats of In’to Languages providing the language course>
During the introductory course, the PhD candidates took the courses Scientific Writing and Effective Academic Development. In the first week, the PhD candidates had to write an article in English and present a project proposal under the supervision of lecturers from Wageningen. In the second week, they were given a heads-up of the problems they might encounter during the PhD programme. Matters such as fear of failure, perfectionism, leadership, communication, assertiveness and scheduling were discussed. Using these, the PhD candidates had to write a plan of action on how they will use their insights during their research.
The PhD candidates work partly in China and partly in Wageningen; they are so-called sandwich PhD’s who spend about a year and a half in Wageningen and two-and-a-half years in China. They are supervised by researchers from both WUR and CAAS during the entire period. The candidates are selected by the Chinese Academy. The PhD candidate and Chinese supervisor then select a Wageningen promotor, who in turn decides whether or not he or she accepts the invitation.
The Chinese students were pleased with the introductory course. One of the PhD candidates gave a lecturer from Wageningen a beautiful compliment. ‘The way you teach will never ever happen among Chinese teachers: the confidence, the sharing, the respect, the humour. You are not just a teacher to me, I admire you so much.’