Science - April 27, 2006

Forty million euros from Nuffic

Over the past two years, Wageningen UR has acquired forty million euros worth of Nuffic projects for capacity building in developing countries. This is a third of the total programme budget.

The projects fall under the NPT-institutional strengthening programme, in which Van Hall Larenstein, Wageningen University and Wageningen International assist knowledge institutions in the south through education or training of teachers and managers. Nuffic executes the programme for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has a total budget of 120 million euros for four years. A third of this went to Wageningen UR during the last two years.

The projects are carried out by consortiums composed of different partners. The forty million euros are destined for projects of which Wageningen UR is project leader. Others also collaborate in the projects, explains Ben Beuming of Wageningen International, but at the same time Wageningen UR also participates in projects led by other knowledge institutions.

A significant amount of the project money is destined for the partners in the south, and will be used for investments to improve laboratories and libraries, or to finance training of personnel in the knowledge institutions. About half of the budget will come back to Wageningen UR, however, in the form of training and advice provided by Wageningen staff, and tuition fees for MSc and PhD programmes that Wageningen UR provides for employees in the institutions in the south.

According to Beuming, capacity strengthening in the south is growing. Wageningen UR has done well because there was much demand from the south for assistance in the fields of agriculture and water management. Beuming believes that Wageningen UR derives its strength from being able to offer support over a range of levels, from applied to academic institutions. / JT

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