Science - February 9, 2012

Executive Board to scrap two chairs

Chairs to merge in Soil Science and Communication & Innovation.

The Executive Board has decided to get rid of two chairs. In ESG, Land Degradation and Development is to merge with Soil Physics, Ecohydrology and Groundwater Management to form the new chair of Soil Physics and Land Management. That means a fall in the number of soil research chairs from five to four. The reduction is possible as three of the four professors are retiring.
The social sciences are also losing a chair without any far-reaching consequences for staff. The Communication & Innovation group headed by Cees Leeuwis is to merge with Technology & Rural Development, where Professor Paul Richards retired two years ago.
These losses create room for new professorships. The strategic policy plan for 2011-2014 announced three new chairs: Urban Environment, Biorefining and Marine Systems Ecology. They have not yet been filled. The so-called chair plan works on the principle of new for old: there is room for a new chair if an old one goes somewhere else. So room still needs to be created for a third chair but it is not yet clear where. A chair is eligible for abolition if the opportunity arises (a professor leaves), the teaching burden is relatively low, or the subject area becomes less relevant or overlaps considerably with another chair. ® GvC

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