WAU's Executive Board has developed a budget plan, in which the Dutch and MSc programmes receive money to buy courses from the departments at the university. By linking the programmes to a budget, the Board wants to decrease the number of courses. Some programmes have far more courses than others and the Board is not able to finance all the courses sufficiently. The department of Soil and Water has to cut the number of courses it offers and will have to cooperate with other programmes in order to present a less costly programme. The budget plan will be discussed by the University Council at the end of January.
The programme committees at WAU need the budget to compile new courses in the next few months. Eleven doctoral programmes will be extended to five years' duration, the other eight courses continue to be four years in length. The education schedule will change, replacing the trimester system with modules of six weeks, after which the students will be immediately examined. Part of the module courses should focus on multidisciplinary designs, combining scientific knowledge and engineering skills.
The university is increasingly becoming a target for burglars. Heroin addicts have taken small amounts of money from several departments, but often the costs for repairing the damage from breaking in are higher. Professional groups have taken large numbers of computers. WAU is stepping up security through infra-red cameras and surveillance. Evening visitors to university buildings may need an electronic card to get in.
The washing power of liquid detergents is hampered by cannibalism (or autodigestion) among the enzymes which should break down the dirt, fat and blood spots on clothes. PhD student Marc Maste examined the behaviour of the enzymes (amylases, lipases and proteinases) in liquid substances. A hydrophobic environment stimulates cannibalism among the enzymes, a hydrophillic environment prevents the autodigestion. Yet, Maste's research model gives no clear explanation for the decrease in washing power of detergents. Bad luck for the funding source of the research, Unilever. Dry washing powder still works better than liquid detergents.