Wetenschap - 3 oktober 1996

Social counterpart for MSc Biotechnology

Social counterpart for MSc Biotechnology

The working group for Technology and Agricultural Development at WAU is looking into the possibilities for establishing an interdisciplinary Msc Biotechnology programme.

The people based biotechnology should integrate both technical and social aspects of biotechnology and not focus solely on one of these. A plant breeder registering for the programme has to remain a plant breeder and an anthropologist an anthropologist," says Guido Ruivenkamp of the working group. One of the specific tasks of the group is to bridge the gap between social and technical aspects of research and education at WAU by bringing together different approaches to socially relevant themes.

Ruivenkamp tells of international students at WAU who complain about the fact that they learn about irrelevant subjects such as biodegradable plastics, which is not an issue in their home countries. The interdisciplinary programme should focus on the relation between technology and processes of social change in society.

Ruivenkamp explains that an inventory of specific wishes and relevant social themes will be made among research institutions in the South. Departments which already offer MSc programmes at WAU will also be involved in establishing the programme. The final shape that the programme will take is still open.

The feasibility study, which is being financed by the Ministry for Development Cooperation, is a joint effort between WAU, the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and the Department of Anthropology, University College London.

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