The WAU business plan, which contains cutbacks for thirty chairs and three hundred jobs, has caused great turmoil in the university. The targeted chair groups are of course disappointed and angry, and argue that the Board has made wrong choices, but the general comment is that the Board did well to make drastic decisions. Several chairs have complained that the Board's choices hit at the core business of the university, instead of the scientific quality of the departments. The new educational model, in which Dutch and international students join during their MSc, is generally welcomed
The Board proposes getting rid of the degree course in Environmental Science and to merge it with Soil, Water and Atmosphere. Two years ago we were still the most important Dutch environmental university, claims Leen Hordijk, director of the WIMEK environmental graduate school. The Board is now classifying these sciences under food sciences and rural planning. The graduate school for Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, in which Wageningen collaborates with the universities in Utrecht and Nijmegen, has to merge with the WIMEK school. The internal unity of Wageningen UR comes before collaboration with other universities, claims the director of Environmental Chemistry
Farmers in the Andes highlands are faced with the problem that the water resources are increasingly consolidated in the hands of big landowners and industry. The leaders of the Indian and farming communities want to regain control over water use and wrote a book on this subject, Searching for Equity, together with WAU scientists from the departments of Sociology and Irrigation. The book criticises the policy of privatising water in most Andean countries and claims that the traditional irrigation management systems are more just. The book doesn't come up with a blueprint for water management, but the most just procedure may be dividing the water on the basis of the money and labour invested in the irrigation scheme
When the Department of Horticulture was disbanded last year, the rose expert of Wageningen, Peter van de Pol, took early retirement. But Van de Pol still wanted to grow a perfume line of roses. He submitted a proposal as a freelance researcher at the experimental farm Unifarm. Van de Pol, the last expert on roses in Wageningen, wants to protect knowledge about roses. I hope for better times. The smell of the rose has stolen his heart, he has spent the last thirty years working on this flower which, by the way, has a production value of a billion guilders a year in Holland. Natural odours are much more complex than chemical ones. That's why they tire less quickly.