Wetenschap - 20 juni 2002

English summary

Recent research by the department of human resource management at Wageningen UR shows that rates of absence due to illness vary greatly between the different institutes.

A researcher at IMAG stays at home for an average of seven days a year due to illness, whereas employees in the administration centre and facilities management spend an average of 22 days away. Absenteeism in the DLO institutes averages 6.3 percent and 5.9 percent in the university, but both figures are about 2 percent higher than the average for comparable organisations. Coordinator of the study Rinus Tazelaar attributes this to the reorganisation during the last few years, but given the high costs associated with it, especially doctors' fees, he will now direct his attention to ways to reduce the costs.

A Wageningen student of rural development studies caused ripples in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently with her graduation thesis.

Jilles van Gastel made an analysis of the 'good governance' policy adopted by the minister for development cooperation, and received a personal letter in reply asking her to remove the cover of her thesis, to prevent the impression being formed that it is a publication of the ministry itself. Van Gastel: "The minister regards herself as the policymaker. Her civil servants are advisors who have little influence on policy. In my analysis of the good governance policy I reach the opposite conclusion; there is a process of mutual influence whereby both civil servants and the minister try to make their mark on the final policy."

The germination time of coffee seeds can be reduced to fifteen days. That can save growers in Brazil a lot of time and money in future.

After water, coffee is the second drink in the world and Brazil is the most important producer of the much wanted beans. Growers in Brazil raise the seedlings of coffee in the open field where germination of the seeds takes between fifty to sixty days. PhD candidate Edvaldo da Silva looked for ways to shorten that period and found that fifteen days are sufficient when germination takes place in the dark at 30?C. The endosperm cap needs to be weakened by enzymes, and these function best at 30?C and in the dark. Da Silva believes that growers will convert to this way of germination as news of it spreads: the time saved will also save them money.