Organisatie - 7 juli 2015

Action plan should pull Alterra out of red numbers

Alterra has so far this year, brought in too few research projects. An action plan should lead to more employment, but also a better distribution of work.

The Executive Board is concerned about the financial situation of Alterra, appeared last week in the ‘Summer greetings’ from the Executive Board. Chairman Louise Fresco, who temporarily has the position of general manager in anticipation of the new director Bram de Vos, performed a consultation with the team leaders of Alterra on July 2. On the agenda: improving the financial results in the short and long term.

The immediate reason for the consultation was the deficit in May. Alterra and the Executive Board do not tell how large the deficit is, but the deficit is large enough for the Executive Board to require a plan of action. Fresco: "The Executive Board is concerned about the results of Alterra and we must undertake action together now to prevent the perspective of this beautiful institute becoming worrisome.'

A cue is a better work distribution, explains spokesman Simon de Ridder of the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG), where Alterra falls under. ‘Some groups have brought too much work in for their own people. Who now need to find good people in other teams who can take over some of the work. This requires creativity of the team leaders, but also courage, to collect people  from related disciplines in a project. ‘Furthermore, the team leaders will share the project overviews better with each other and consult more about the occupation of the projects.

Secondly, Alterra wants to solve some problems with the funding of research on the short term. Thus, the institute wants to work on the relationship with the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment, which is becoming an increasingly important client in the area of ​​landscape, water and infrastructure. Especially now research programs expire at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and no new programs are in place, such as in the research program Soil Information System (BIS) Netherlands.

But Fresco also spoke with the team leaders of Alterra on innovation and market opportunities in the longer term. She judged that the innovative capacity of Alterra is not yet at the required level. ‘We see that major funders such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Brussels increasingly aim on innovation and adding value to knowledge. It is therefore necessary that Alterra, more than before, works on concrete ideas, solutions, products, models and apps and consequently brings that to existing and new markets.’