Wetenschap - 29 januari 1998

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • Minister of Agriculture Jozias van Aartsen wants a large-scale restructuring of the Dutch pig sector and has imposed a law that compels all pig farmers to decrease the number of pigs kept by 25 percent. The farmers will not be compensated for the reduction in stock. This policy is in defiance of European legislation, according to the Dutch Institute for Agrarian Law, with headquarters in Wageningen. The general decrease in the number of pigs per farm is contrary to the European policy that pig farmers should operate in a free market. The lack of compensation for farmers is in defiance of the human rights rulings, three law professors explain. They expect that the minister will face huge claims from farmers who take their appeal to the European Court of Justice
  • WAU Rector Professor Cees Karssen says that thesis reports from students should be made public. Secrecy of research results does not match with the policy that universities should initiate public debate. But marketing researcher Ynte van Dam would not get any thesis subjects from companies if he didn't promise confidentiality of company information in the thesis. The DLO research institutes on Plant Breeding and Reproduction, and Agrotechnical Research are prepared to order secrecy if their clients want it. I've never heard students complain about it, says Van Dam. He still has secret reports from as far back as 1965, under the authority of companies which have already gone bankrupt
  • Minister of Education Jo Ritzen intends to move five hundred million guilders from Dutch universities to the research funding organisation NWO, which selects research proposals from the universities on the criteria of quality and social relevance. The managers of the universities are not happy with the situation. They will lose control of part of their research budget. NWO should be the second captain of the ship, explains the minister, but it is not only the universities who are anxious about this proposal. NWO is judged as a conservative organisation which tends to select proposals from established scientists and doesn't back risky new theories from young scientists, the critics say. NWO is not yet deemed capable of implementing a research policy at the universities. NWO explains that it will be able to take on the job, after the present long-term reorganisation process is accomplished
  • Economics student Jasper Dalhuizen wrote his thesis at the Chinese agricultural university in Nanjing, where he studied the relation between soil conservation and the yields of rice and peanuts. It was a seventeen-hour from the university to the field station where he did his research. He stayed in a house without water, slept in a good sleeping bag on the floor in the freezing cold, had no electricity most of the time and lived on a diet of rice, seaweed and warm water for quite a while. I lost a lot of weight. His contact with the Chinese students was quite good, because most of them spoke English. They also helped him willingly with translating literature from Chinese to English

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