Wetenschap - 1 februari 2001

English Summary

Opinions are divided among the members of the department of animal science at Wageningen UR about the plan to merge with the faculty of veterinary science at the University of Utrecht.

The zoologists are not in favour. Professor of Experimental Animal Science Johan van Leeuwen thinks that a merger with Utrecht would lead to a decline in the education they provide for Wageningen biologists and nutritionists. Chair of the Animal Nutrition Group and scientific director of WIAS, Professor Seerp Tamminga is 'neutral', but the main advantage is that academic strengths would be consolidated, which would balance better against the larger market-oriented ID-Lelystad (Institute for Animal Science and Health).

Two Wageningen-based institutes IAC (International Agricultural Centre) and ILRI (International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement) signed a statement of intent to merge with Wageningen UR last week.

The 25 employees of ILRI, however, are not happy with the agreement as it now stands, whereby they will fall under DLO. ILRI does most of its work in developing countries, and therefore charges lower rates than their DLO counterparts working in Holland. Until now it has received financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture on a fixed basis, which will disappear. ILRI workers are also not happy with the fact that they will no longer be able to fly business class under the new agreement.

Eighty percent of the Dutch students in Wageningen find education in the English language difficult according to a survey done by the Wageningen Student Organisation (WSO).

In the reorganisation plans, Wageningen University is to go over to a Bachelor/Master system in which the courses for the Masters part will be taught entirely in English. Apart from the fact that studying in English is likely to cost the students more time, they are also worried about the ability of lecturers to teach in English. The main stumbling blocks seem to be doing exams and large pieces of written work in English.

The Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (RIVO) has succeeded in getting farmed sole to eat.

Attempts to farm this flat fish have failed in the past when weaning the young from their baby food onto solids. Sole it seems will only eat food they can smell, and that smells good to them. A new Norwegian commercial fish food passed the test, and RIVO researchers hope that this will pave the way for farming sole in nursery ponds. It will be two years before they know how successful this is likely to be, but the economic potential is good. At a price of 20 - 30 guilders per kg sole is expensive, and there is also high demand for the fish.

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