Science - December 15, 2005

Katan leaves for Amsterdam

Professor Martijn Katan, Chair of Nutrition, will leave next year to go to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, where he will work with the obesity researcher Professor Jaap Seidell. Katan’s departure will not go unnoticed in scientific Wageningen.

Nutritionist Katan is the most cited Wageningen researcher. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and was appointed Academy professor at the start of this year, an honorary title that brought with it one million euros.

Katan says he is not leaving out of anger or frustration. ‘Of course I have sometimes felt frustrated by the bureaucracy, for instance the system of compulsory internal recruiting. I just wanted to appoint the best people, but I wasn’t allowed to because you have to give priority to internal candidates. However, that is not the reason for my departure: from conversations with colleagues elsewhere I don’t have the impression things are better elsewhere. No, I’m going because I want to go to Amsterdam.’

What exactly Katan will be doing in Amsterdam he does not yet know. ‘We really only talked about it for the first time yesterday. But obesity is the number one nutrition problem at the moment, so I want to do something on the subject.’ Katan will still be in Wageningen regularly next year to round off projects and to supervise a number of PhD students. He will spend part of his KNAW budget in Wageningen. / KV

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