The WAU Department of Sociology asked Dutch experts in the field of rural development to come up with a list of publications which have been the most innovative and influential over the past twenty years. The experts drew up a ranking order in which publications from outside the WAU and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Fishery feature prominently. Dutch agricultural research in this field of science is apparently not very innovative.
The American company Monsanto is to be permitted to import genetically modified soya beans in Europe. The new soya beans are resistant to the herbicide Glyfosaat, which is also produced by Monsanto. Environmental and consumer organisations claim that too little research has been done on the health risks. They also want the transgenetic soya beans to be clearly labelled. Importer Unilever says that labelling is quite difficult, because the new soya bean is chemically identical to the old one. Sixty percent of all food products in the Netherlands contain soya beans in some form.
Students need to gain at least fifty percent of their possible credit points each year, otherwise they will have to pay their grant back to the government. This year about five hundred WAU students didn't reach this tempo norm, but less than half of them actually have to pay back their grants. The percentage of victims in other universities is much higher. The reason for this has yet to be discovered.
WAU professor Aalt Dijkhuizen, chair in Farm Economics, has been asked to join a British committee that will advise the government on solutions to the BSE crisis. British livestock has been affected by the Mad Cow Disease and there is proof that affected beef can cause Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans. Dijkhuizen is also a member of the European scientific advisory committee which advocated the imposition of the ban on British beef this summer. He will certainly recommend improvements to the British identification and administration system for cows, which is less developed than in Holland.
The WAU educational institute Technology and Food wants to cooperate with the Dutch Open University to develop a postgraduate course and improve expertise on the use of information technology for home study. It is the first time that the WAU has embarked on a joint project with the Open University, which specialises in correspondence courses.