Cees Veerman is to be appointed new chairman of the Knowledge Centre Wageningen, the merger of the WAU and the DLO institutes of agricultural research. Veerman is an economist from the University of Rotterdam, who obtained his PhD from the WAU and holds visiting chair positions in both Rotterdam and Tilburg. Veerman is also chairman of the Dutch Council of Agricultural Cooperatives and the founding father of a new marketing cooperative for vegetables and fruits in the Netherlands, the Greenery. As long as the advisory committees of the WAU and DLO raise no serious objections to Veerman's appointment, agricultural minister Jozias van Aartsen will appoint him officially on June 6th
Dutch education minister Jo Ritzen wants Dutch universities and schools for vocational training to cooperate with their colleagues in neighbouring countries Germany and Belgium. The aim is to provide joint courses and to exchange students. Nevertheless, the universities should not overlook the cultural differences between neighbours, as the Universities of Maastricht and Enschede found out. Education in Germany and Belgium is much more formal than in the Netherlands and the credit point systems may differ a lot. An example: When a Belgian student went to a lecture in Maastricht for the first and had to go to the toilet, he asked permission from the lecturer. The Dutch students laughed, but the Belgian student was only doing what came naturally to him
Starting next academic year, new students will receive a chip card. Students will be able to use it to pay for their meals in the WAU canteens and for their examination registration fees. The university plans to introduce these electronic facilities carefully and not before they have proved to be reliable in other universities. Most problems have been encountered with electronic payments with the card at other universities. It is important that the card can be used immediately for all functions, says project leader Henk van Dijk. A student who repeatedly runs up against problems is likely to pretty quickly think: forget it!
Dutch researchers are trying to find a solution for the problem of chickens in groups pecking and even eating each other. In the past farmers dealt with this form of cannibalism by burning off the beak, but this is about to be forbidden by law. New research is badly needed, but the university did not manage to raise new money for their research proposals. One of our programmes was too practical, the other too theoretical, complains ethologist Paul Koene. They want a quick solution for this problem, but it is not easy. Pecking is a very natural habit of chickens searching for food. Koene wants to study the development of cannibalism among chickens and wants to provide the chickens with Christmas trees for pecking