Wetenschap - 25 juli 2002

English summary

The Wageningen UR central office has been subjected to the latest round of reorganisation, in which 45 jobs of the 223 total will be scrapped.

The entire Information Strategy Department will disappear, and of the Communication and Marketing Department only communication will remain. Architect of the reform, Dr Peter Booman is also out of a job. In the report published this week, Evaluation and Restructuring of the Central Office, it is clear that the Board believes that the central office can be downsized as the expertise groups themselves take over more of the work. According to the report the central office is too bureaucratic and not sufficiently demand oriented. Employees have been given a guarantee of no redundancy.

The new Dutch cabinet was appointed on Monday this week. Minister of Agriculture is Cees Veerman, Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen UR until last year. A member of the CDA party, he fits well in a cabinet that claims to give priority to social renewal, norms and values and a decrease in bureaucracy. In Wageningen he saw the merger between the Agricultural University and the DLO research institutes through, and instigated the debate on norms and values and ethical issues in agriculture. He is also a strong believer in a decrease in market subsidies for farmers. He will no longer have much to do with Wageningen, that honour will be reserved for new secretary of state Jan Odink, also an economist, who previously worked for the Product Board Meat, Poultry and Eggs.

The Department of Animal Sciences has received money to extend its programme to include courses on companion animals.

The Board has made enough available for three full-time positions for the next four years, on condition that the department manages to attract fifty extra students by 2004. The idea of running courses on animals such as cats, dogs and horses in particular is not new, but until June this year the department had expected to do this together with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Utrecht. When plans for an interfaculty were scrapped by both Boards, the Animal Sciences Department in Wageningen was faced with a choice: dump the plans or go it alone. It decided on the latter course, and the first students will start in September with tailor-made MSc courses on horse management.

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