Wetenschap - 5 december 2002

English Summary

English Summary

Wageningen has been giving away prizes recently.

Friday 29 November saw the presentation of the Royal Green Food Awards for the first time in Wageningen, and on the same day the IAC gave away its Award for Innovative Rural Development for the second time. This year the IAC prize went to the Cuban Dr Humberto R?os Labrada for his work on the ways in which farmers' knowledge can be applied in scientific crop breeding programmes. The IAC introduced this award last year for its 50th anniversary to encourage innovative application of recently developed expertise to the benefit of poor farmers in developing countries.

All did not go so well with the diploma award ceremony for the most recent university graduates at Wageningen.

An administrative error meant that graduate in Rural Development Studies Bram Truijen left the Aula empty handed. Apparently wires had got crossed because he formally graduated in September, but was not able to collect his diploma then. Even more embarrassing though was that the person who should have given him his diploma did not even know his name. Truijen's comment: "To me it shows just how impersonal the whole ceremony is. Was there really nobody from our degree course who could spare an hour to go to the Aula for us?"

The WSO is worried about the level of English at the university.

The organisation regularly receives complaints from international students about lecturers who are difficult to understand. At the same time an increasing number of Dutch students are complaining that they can't understand the international students. Lieselotte Heederik, president of the WSO, suspects that not enough attention is paid to testing the level of English of international students before they arrive here. It is not helped by the fact that the summer course in English is no longer given at the language centre. Heederik: "If you have students in your work group that you cannot understand then the quality of education starts to suffer."

Good news about the missing otters this week.

Despite reports that recently released otters had disappeared or even died, this is not the case according to project leader at Alterra Hugh Jansman. Some females have left the Weerribben national park in Friesland where they were released, but Jansman suspects this has to do with their instinctive reaction to the onset of winter. The otters come from Latvia, where they move to areas of open water in the winter, as the smaller streams and rivers freeze up. The otters in Friesland have done the same and gone to the Tjeukemeer.

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