Wetenschap - 23 mei 2002

English summary

The board of Wageningen UR is aiming for clarity by the end of June on the confusion surrounding the dramatic rise in telephone costs.

An external report written last year suggests that telephone costs for the university have risen by 600,000 euros as a result of outsourcing. It is not yet clear whether this figure is correct, for example the sale of the central telephone exchange which brought in nearly one million euros may not have been included in the calculations. The facilities management department is looking further into the matter.

The Institute for International Land Reclamation and Improvement ILRI has been a part of Alterra for nearly a year.

Its recently appointed director Kees de Zeeuw, former head of the department of Ecology and Environment at Alterra, wants to increase cooperation between ILRI and Alterra in order to become more competitive on the international market. ILRI has more international experience, especially in providing courses for professionals on drainage, irrigation and institutional strengthening. Alterra can learn from ILRI about providing international education in order to set up courses in its own fields of expertise such as geo-information, spatial planning and ecology.

The Ceres student organisation is currently carrying out renovation on its building in the Generaal Foulkesweg.

Long overdue safety measures are now being introduced, including emergency lighting, an alarm installation and fire safety measures. Most improvements will not be directly visible, but the big advantage is that instead of the current maximum of five hundred people for parties held in the main hall, this will go up to one thousand two hundred. From the middle of June, Ceres will be the venue for big parties.

A Wageningen delegation visited Bosnia Herzegovina recently to advise on how best to rebuild agriculture in this war-torn country.

Radio and television should be used to encourage returning refugees to take up agriculture. Professor Wim Heijman, Dr Henk Moll and Dr Arjen Wals were shocked by the damage suffered during the war when they visited Bosnia Herzegovina in April. Agriculture is primarily small-scale, with an average farm size of three hectares. Much agricultural land is not used because of ownership disputes. The country also imports over half its food requirements. The Wageningen researchers' conclusion is that the Bosnians should concentrate on intensive crops such as vegetables, fruit and flowers, in the form of contract agriculture. Farmers then produce for a known buyer who provides a packet which includes not only seeds, but also fertiliser and information.