The Department of Animal Husbandry produced the most publications at the WAU in 1996. A section of the Department of Food Science came second and the Department of Public Health third. Animal Husbandry maintains the position as most productive department that it has held for the last five years. The Department of Soil Tillage and the Working Group on Technology and Agrarian Development produced no publications at all, and the Department of Gender Studies was also low on the list. Out of a total of 2,389 scientific publications, the number of popular scientific publications decreased considerably in 1996
Cees Veerman, Chairman of the Executive Board of the WAU wants to open discussions on important societal research issues for Wageningen. Researchers should feed the public debates on rural development, ecological agriculture, genetic research and the environment because the work of the scientists has important consequences for society. Veerman explains that multinationals have already changed their policy: with the invention of new techniques, they first ask will the public accept it, do we have a licence to produce? Fundamental researchers need to continue publishing in specialist journals, but also have to explain their research in more broader terms to the public. It is no longer enough for your colleagues say that you are excellent. I predict that other criteria will become more important for assessing research.
Thirteen soil scientists from Central and Eastern Europe were in Wageningen last week at the International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC) to develop a programme that combines their data on soil pollution in the former communist countries. In two years the Eastern European politicians will be alarmed by the results, predicts the Hungarian professor George Varallyay. Most of the pollution has arisen since the collapse of communism, explains Varallyay. Part of the information he needs is confidential, because economic interests are involved. In one part of Hungary we produce baby food. We may lose that market if the conclusion is that the soils in Hungary are badly poisoned.
The Albert Heijn supermarket in Wageningen offered a free breakfast for several days. A lot of students went there to take advantage of the offer. We had no bread left on our corridor, explain five students from Asserpark. The supermarket offered sixteen different types of bread, nearly six hundred rolls, 288 fruitcakes, 96 litres of orange juice, 140 litres of milk, 850 mugs of Yakult, ten kilos of cheese and thirty pots of jam. All this just in one morning between 8.00 and 10.00