News - January 23, 2012

University's overheads low

Wageningen University’s overheads are low compared to those of other Dutch universities, a study by Berenschot has revealed. Wageningen spends especially little on support for education and research.

Management consultancy firm Berenschot calculated and compared the overhead costs of all the Dutch universities. The 'generic overheads' in Wageningen amount to 19.1 percent. This covers the departments of Personnel and Organization, Finances and Control, ICT, Marketing and Communication, Legal Affairs and Facilities Management. In other universities, 19.9 percent of the staff belong to these departments.

The proportion of Wageningen staff providing support for education and research is 7.7 percent. This figure is much higher in other universities, averaging 13.5 percent. So Wageningen's total overheads come to 26.7 percent, compared with the national average of 33.4 percent. Consequently, Wageningen spends about 4,500 euros less on overheads per staff post. The costs of Wageningen's executive board, on the other hand, are higher than those of other university boards. Moreover, Wageningen spends comparatively large amounts on facilities management. To put this in perspective, though: little of this work is outsourced.

Overheads costs at the universities seem to be going down somewhat, but have not changed very much over the years, concludes Berenschot. Compared to other semi-public organizations, the universities scores are average. The applied sciences universities have slightly higher overheads than the theoretical ones, according to the benchmark study.