Wetenschap - 17 januari 2002

English summary

The provisional financial results of Wageningen UR for 2001 were made known this week.

The university earned 20 percent less from private and publicly financed research than in 2000, mainly due to the closure of chair groups through the reorganisation. The university is expected to make a profit of 1.5 million euro for last year, and Kees van Ast, vice-chair of the executive board, expects this figure will decline, just staying in the black for the next two years. DLO closed last year with a likely profit of 6.9 million euro, two million more than expected. The average result for the DLO institutes was 2.4 percent of turnover, but this must rise to 3.5 in a few years. DLO is budgeting for a profit of 10.7 million euro this year, much of which will come through cuts on overheads and not on research.

The publication of the report of the Terlouw Commission on biotechnology last week resulted in a biotech breakfast in Wageningen, organised by Professor Fons Werrij.

University vice-chancellor Professor Bert Speelman was present and posed the question, where was Wageningen in the debate? Reactions varied: Professor Willem Stiekema of Plant Research International defended the Wageningen scientists. "Let's be honest, the Dutch really are not interested in biotechnology. Everything that was covered by the debate we have also published on, but there have been few reactions." According to Werrij it is also a question of image. Both the general public and organisations such as Greenpeace do not trust Wageningen, as they place it together with private industry. The one concrete result from the meeting is that a conference will be held soon to examine the issues more deeply. Plant Research International, Rikilt and Social Sciences will organise this.

As reported earlier in Wb the Dutch telephone company KPN is to stop the 'tik' signals in February.

These enable people to keep track of how long their phone calls are. Most of the occupants of SSHW housing chose for a special attractively priced ISDN connection and telephone from Primafoon. Bills will be specified, so by keeping track of the number phoned and how long the call takes, phone sharers will be able to divide up the bill, albeit in a fairly cumbersome way. Others, however, have chosen for the 'pincode system'. Each user of a telephone line receives a personal code, whereby phone calls can be registered individually and specified bills sent. This is cheaper than the ISDN packet.

A Wageningen researcher has come up with a way of processing fish waste to make it usable for the animal feed industry:

ferment it into a sort of long-life yoghurt. Maria Enes Dapkevicius identified a lactic acid bacteria that can turn fish waste into a sort of porridge that will not decay easily, and which is unlikely to cause allergic reactions in animals fed with the product.

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