News - January 25, 2007

Dijkhuizen wants to stay under agriculture

Aalt Dijkhuizen, President of the Wageningen UR Executive Board, would like to see Wageningen’s ‘green’ education and research remain under the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. This is one of the wishes on Dijkhuizen’s list for the informateur, the man conducting the negotiations for the formation of the new cabinet. Dijkhuizen presented his wish list on Wednesday 24 February to the Dutch press.

Three parties, the Christian democrats CDA, the social democrats PvdA and the small Christian social party ChristenUnie, are currently negotiating with the mediation of an informateur to come to agreement over the new government coalition. Dijkhuizen has spoken to the leaders of the three parties, and is optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations. ‘All three have assured me that our areas of focus, climate and sustainability, are on their top-five list.’

Wageningen UR does not fall under the Ministry of Education, as do all other Dutch universities, but under the Ministry of Agriculture. Dijkhuizen would like to see this continue, he let the press know. According to Dijkhuizen, this special status is good for ‘green’ education. ‘We formulate the content of our objectives together with the ministry, and that leads to added value.’ Dijkhuizen also wants to see the new cabinet spending more money on research into the three areas of bio-based economy, animal welfare and preparations for climate change.

Another wish is the continuation of the innovation platform. This platform distributed money from the natural gas fund to research projects designed to give an impulse to the Dutch economy. Wageningen UR received considerable amounts of money from the fund. Dijkhuizen would prefer to see a continuation of the investment fund than a general increase in research budgets. ‘Surely, the public have a right to decide which themes should have priority?’