Nieuws - 15 november 2012

Genomics research saved

Ministry has found funding to keep genetic research going. Institutes must go.

Wageningen UR can continue its genetic research for agriculture and horticulture after all, thanks to an injection of funding from the ministry of Economic Affairs. Last month it looked as though the two genetic research institutes, CBSG and TTI Green Genetics, would have to close because they were not awarded funding by the Horticulture and Propagation Materials top sector. That was a bitter pill to swallow, since stakeholders from the business world had indicated they wanted to go on funding research on propagation materials.
The ministry has now found 2 million euros after all, outside the top sector budget, says Ernst van den Ende, director of the Plant Sciences group.  Since the government is responsible for 50 percent of the project funding, and the companies had already agreed to their share of the funding, this means the 4 million needed for follow-up research will be available in 2013. The research on propagation material for plant breeding will be organized differently, as the institutes are to go. Which projects will continue in 2013 has still to be determined in consultation with the business sector.
This is a relief for Wageningen plant researchers in these uncertain times. Because funding for Wageningen research from the product boards is under threat too. The new cabinet has decided to scrap these boards and it is not clear what is to happen to their research and development tasks. The product boards spent about 17 million euros on research assignments for Wageningen UR in recent years.