Science - January 22, 2004

IAC acquires only one Nuffic project

Apart from one project, for which the IAC tendered successfully, Wageningen UR submitted fewer proposals for the Nuffic programme on capacity building in developing countries this year. The focus has shifted away from agriculture.

The International Agricultural Centre has won a Nuffic project worth over one million euros to help a Vietnamese university to disseminate knowledge. The organisation for higher education, Nuffic, grants funds to projects proposed by Dutch universities, colleges or research institutes that enhance the human resource and research capacity in developing countries. This is the only project that Wageningen UR has acquired within this programme this year, whereas Wageningen’s involvement in previous years has been much bigger. In the past, Dutch development aid was tied to Dutch organisations, but now it is the partners in developing countries who get the funds and can choose which Dutch partner they want.

Ad Boeren at Nuffic explains that it is the first time that universities and colleges have had to tender. While Wageningen UR had seven out of forty projects in the previous programme, this time round it has acquired only one out of seventeen projects. Boeren adds that Wageningen probably submitted fewer proposals because the content focus has also changed.

Bert Boerrigter, who coordinates the programme initiatives for Wageningen UR confirms this. “It’s not that we have scored badly in this round, it’s just that we tendered less because the content is not so interesting for us,” he says. “In the past there were far more agricultural issues in the programme. Now the projects include improving law faculties and strengthening the police force, things for which Wageningen UR has little expertise.”

Joris Tielens

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