Wetenschap - 1 januari 1970

Hoogleraren ook op functioneringsgesprek

Hoogleraren ook op functioneringsgesprek

Hoogleraren ook op functioneringsgesprek

Alle hoogleraren van Wageningen Universiteit worden volgend jaar opgeroepen voor een functioneringsgesprek met hun hoogleraar-directeur. Dat schrijft de raad van bestuur in een nota aan de studenten- en ondernemingsraad. Voor niet-hoogleraren waren functioneringsgesprekken al gewoon

De hoogleraren krijgen voortaan jaarlijks een gesprek, waarin de hoogleraren met hun directeur hun functioneren bespreken. Daarnaast wil het bestuur een strengere en formele methodische personeelsbeoordeling voor hoogleraren instellen. Minstens elke vijf jaar zal de hoogleraar-directeur het functioneren van de hoogleraar beoordelen. Deze beoordeling speelt een rol bij salarisverhogingen en promoties

Niet alleen de gewone hoogleraren, maar ook de hoogleraar-directeuren en de directeuren van onderzoekscholen en onderwijsinstituten zullen in de toekomst regelmatig worden beoordeeld. Zij krijgen een jaarlijks functioneringsgesprek met de rector magnificus. Het bestuur legt haar plannen deze maand voor aan de studenten- en ondernemingsraad. K.V

Minister of Agriculture Jan Brinkhorst will officially open the academic year at WAU on 6 September. This will be marked by the presentation of the new logo and house style of Wageningen University Research Centre (WUR). There will be speeches by three Ceeses: Chairman of the University Executive Board Cees Veerman, Professor Cees van Woerkum of Communication and Innovation Studies, and Rector Cees Karssen. The opening begins at 16.30 in the Junushoff

The prospective partnership between WUR and the FAO was marked by a visit to Wageningen last week by the Dutch representative at this UN organisation. The relationship, which until now has been on an ad hoc basis, needs broadening to include collective acquisition and execution of research projects, as well as strategic liaison on global policy development. WUR will appoint a facilitator to make an inventory of the possibilities for collaboration between WUR and FAO. This position will be financed out of the DLO North-South Programme. Minimising bureaucratic mazes is high on the list, but Wageningen also has to be able to convince the FAO that it is capable of delivering top quality work which international donors are prepared to finance. Professor Eric Smaling, head of acquisition within the Internationalisation Programme Team indicated that this is just one of a number of WUR initiatives. There are also plans to approach the UNDP and the WTO

The DLO Centre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research (CPRO-DLO) has introduced a new apple variety: Santana. A rosy apple with a potentially rosy future: it is resistant to scab, the most common fungus disease affecting apples, and therefore requires only a minimum amount of spraying. A test sample of 20,000 apples will be on sale this year in order to evaluate the chain from producer to retailer. The trend towards global agreements between breeders, growers and buyers on the introduction of new fruit varieties is being followed by Santana. The fruit auction collective Fruitmasters will pronounce judgement on the commercial success of the apple. If they give the green light CPRO will be able to officially launch the variety

According to a report in the Dutch Fisheries journal OVB-Bericht, the population of the Netherlands gets 36 percent of its dioxine intake from fish. This is a provisional figure from a broad comparative study begun in 1998 by two DLO institutes (RIKILT and RIVO) and the State Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). There are reservations about the figure: previous research has indicated that refining fish oils reduces the amount of dioxines considerably; and the amount of fish oil used in food production depends on the market price. This has increased in recent years, and therefore the amount used has gone down. This is no reason to stop further research: stricter quality and environmental controls led to a reduction in the amount of dioxines in dairy products

How has IMAG-DLO contributed to agricultural machinery for developing countries? See the website for a translation of the article on Page 8 in this Wb

Website: www.gcw.nl/wisp'r

:New advisory centre on WTO law

The next round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations will take place in November this year. One of the issues on the agenda is the role of the new advisory centre on WTO law for developing countries. The aim is to provide support to developing countries in legal matters related to international trade

The integration of developing countries in world trade has been on the WTO agenda for some time. The organisation's goal is to liberalise and facilitate world trade. A growing number of developing countries have joined the organisation. At present there are 135 member countries and 30 more are preparing to join. However, one of the bottlenecks for participation in world trade seems to be a lack of expertise and human resources in international law. The WTO consists of a complex system of rights and obligations, supported by a binding legal mechanism, the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). Countries can take other countries to this international court if they think that WTO rules have been violated. Well-known examples are the conflicts between the United States and the European Union about blocking the import of hormone-treated meat and bananas by the European Union. Developing countries, however, rarely make use of this legal mechanism. One reason might be that whole teams of lawyers are needed to prepare such settlements, something developing countries can ill afford. Hence the need for legal training of government officials in developing countries

The Dutch minister of Development Cooperation, Evelien Herfkens, was one of the first to recognise this need. Former permanent representative of the Netherlands for the WTO, at the end of 1998 she wrote a letter to the Dutch parliament, together with (Secretary General of Economic Affairs Gerrit Ybema), pleading for the establishment of an independent advisory centre on WTO law for developing countries. In addition she set aside a total of 4.5 million guilders to co-finance the centre. In June this year a group of WTO members, including the Netherlands, presented a proposal for the establishment of such a legal centre, where developing countries can obtain legal advice at low cost. Recently the WTO decided to approve the establishment of the centre

Master of Law Ab van Eldijk of the Agrarian Law Group comments on the background to the situation: The WTO rules are laid down on the basis of the treaty text. But it's impossible to predict what sort of cases may arise in the future. As a result, WTO policy is to a large extent determined by the rulings on previous conflicts. If these rulings are determined by only a small number of developed countries, the whole law-making process comes under threat. The creation of a legal system is not a matter of paternalism, but a vital element of the system itself. Van Eldijk relativises the importance of developing countries in world trade: Trade with developing countries accounts for only a small percentage of total world trade, not including oil. If liberalists say that everybody should be treated equally, they shouldn't forget that member countries have unequal starting positions. It is high time for the WTO to come of age: it should become a socially aware organisation, taking the consequences of the implementation of rules for developing countries into account. Free competition means that goods are produced where production costs are lowest, often where social and environmental standards are low. It should be a task of the WTO to prevent such social and environmental dumping. The advisory centre on WTO law is the first step and should have been taken earlier.

Professor Arie Kuijvenhoven, development economist, sees a more modest role for the advisory centre. Kuijvenhoven: The developed countries are at a great advantage because of the lawyers they have or hire. It is important that developing countries also have access to the dispute settlement mechanism. However, Kuijvenhoven is not optimistic that developing countries will be able to do much to erode the protectionism of developed countries, which limits their access to world trade. Protectionism is allowed in certain cases within WTO law, for example when countries need time to implement WTO rules. However, if they were better prepared legally, developing countries could bring more cases to trial on the environmental effects of trade. However, dispute settlement will remain a matter of money as well. A developed country can start three cases at the same time. A developing country will still not have the resources to hire three teams of lawyers to defend their case. Joris Tielens

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