Cooperation between the Department of Ecological Agriculture and other WAU departments has not developed as far as Professor Eric Goewie had hoped it would in 1994. The economists collaborate with the ecologists through a PhD student who has to translate the different languages used by the two research groups. Relations with the zoologists are conducted through a part-time member of the Department of Animal Nutrition, but Ecological Agriculture should expect no initiatives from our side, says Professor Seerp Tamminga. Relations with the Department of Crop Protection are non-existent because the deterministic research culture over there is quite different from the holistic models of the ecological department. Entomologist Louise Vet is angry that Goewie's department claims a unique position in research on ecological agriculture: I've been working for thirteen years already on biological control of plant diseases.
WAU students Petra Geenen and Marjolein Dutmer were on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia doing practical work on the elephantiasis parasite when the drought worsened and the forests started to burn. They were badly informed about the situation by the Indonesian government and had to return earlier to Holland because of the water and food shortage on Sulawesi. The two women were weak and their menstruation had become irregular. Hungry rats destroyed their toilet bags and mattresses. When the family that hosted them went away to visit a relative who had typhus, the two students left the small village. Despite riots in the city of Ujung Pandang, an earthquake nearby and the loss of their passports, they returned safely to Holland
The position of the environmental sciences at WAU has weakened in the past years, because it was not listed as an important research item in the recommendations for the Agricultural Resource Centre Wageningen. A commission headed by toxicologist Jan Koemen wants to promote the environmental sciences in one graduate school and educational programme. All professors in this field support his plan, but first the University Board has to come to a decision on the issue