Wetenschap - 24 april 1997

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • One of the objectives of the merger in Wageningen between the WAU and the DLO institutes for agricultural research is stronger cooperation in the field of forestry and nature conservation. Director of the DLO research institute for forestry and nature conservation (IBN-DLO), Anton Sepers, asked the WAU counterparts to move to the new building of the institute, but the University is not ready yet. IBN is quite successful at acquiring research projects, but this activity has weakened their fundamental research. The WAU should be able to provide this fundamental research on ecosystems, says Sepers, but not all related WAU departments have a strong fundamental focus according to other participants
  • The Dutch pig breeding sector, which is currently facing a major crisis with the swine fever epidemic, should be restructured, state several WAU professors. Economist Aalt Dijkhuizen thinks that the interaction between pig farmers, pig breeders, transporters, slaughterhouses and the stations for artificial insemination should be cut back severely, to prevent the distribution of infectious diseases. Zoologist Jos Noordhuizen envisages an even tougher reorganisation: he wants regional clusters of big farmers, who only have contact with one distributor, breeder and pig feed company. The clusters would not be allowed to interact, states Noordhuizen. Ethologist Piet Wiepkema is not satisfied with that, because the Dutch pig sector consistently ignores pig welfare. Intensive pig farming increases the incidence of disease among the pigs and only a strong extensification of the pig sector will cure that problem, he thinks. Minister of Agriculture Jozias van Aartsen has announced a restructuring of the Dutch pig sector
  • WAU students have to finish their educational programmes in a much shorter time than a few years ago, and as a result take less optional courses. Departments that do not provide core courses for one of the eighteen WAU degree programmes, are now facing dramatic reductions in student numbers. The attendance numbers at the Departments of Applied Philosophy, Ecological Agriculture and Agricultural Extension have more than halved in a few years. It's dramatic, we're glad if one-third of the number of students from three years ago takes our courses, explains a philosopher. The departments will intensify their efforts to attract students to their courses, but they know that students are taking less nice bonus courses than before
  • WAU and DLO and other participants have received four million guilders a year to strengthen Information Technology in Wageningen. They will build up an electronic library and try to increase the use of telematics in educational programmes. They also want to use multimedia for research data presentation, and provide Internet applications on the cable television network in Wageningen. Green City Wageningen will be a sort of shopping mall, a virtual meeting place for scientists and policy makers, says coordinator Robert Brom of the WAU

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