The WAU faces a problem of ageing: young scientists work on short contracts and leave to work for other organisations, and the average age of university personnel is somewhere between forty and fifty. The age gap threatens the university's ability to adapt to new ideas and techniques. At the same time the university fears that a brain drain of older people will take place between now and the year 2002. Staff mobility has to increase according to university professors: It's not good that people stay at the university from the age of twenty until they reach sixty.
WAU is cooperating with the university of Nijmegen, Unilever and the dairy industry to develop a business plan for a leading technological institute for Food Science. The initiators have requested ten million guilders from the stimulation fund provided by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which wants to improve cooperation between universities and Dutch industry. Writing the business plan was not easy as the universities and companies have different interests. This institute has to be different from the Unilever research lab, says one professor
Visiting committees judge the quality of the educational programmes in the Netherlands every five years. Their remarks on the programmes, however, have little influence. Research done by a graduate from the University of Twente indicates that only half of the recommendations are actually implemented by the programme committees. A good example is the Economics programme at the WAU; little has changed since the previous visit. The programme committee cannot force the departments to take notice of the criticism, says economist Slangen, but if the departments and lecturers don't change their courses now, the visiting committee will surely give them a piece of their mind next time round. A study by the University of Nijmegen adds that the opinions of students concerning the educational programmes are quite similar to the remarks from the visiting committees