Leaps in knowledge
The Executive Board has given the green light to three new research
projects, referred to as ‘knowledge leaps’.
In the next two years the five Sciences Groups and the Executive Board will
invest one million euros in each of the projects, ‘Healthcard’,
‘Opportunities for space’ and ‘Salt for fresh (water)’, collectively
entitled the Vivre project. These are the three areas of scientific
research which directors and scientists identified as likely to spearhead
the future research agenda. Salt for fresh (water), headed by Willem
Brandenburg and Martin Scholten, will concentrate on regional development
of coastal areas, and will conduct research in Zeeland and the Nile delta.
‘Opportunities for space’ will concentrate on developing the academic
expertise necessary for future land use issues, in particular
organisational science, management science, evolutionary economics and
innovatory sciences. The project is led by Dr Noelle Aarts and Roel During.
The ‘Healthcard’ project is headed by Professor Pieter van’t Veer, and will
concentrate on whether it is possible to determine individual eating habits
and individual sensitivity in such a way that individual nutritional advice
can be given.
Harvest Plus in Wageningen
Last Tuesday saw the launch of a new CGIAR programme, Harvest Plus.
A few hours before the official press release in the United States,
Professor Clive West of the sub-department of Human Nutrition in Wageningen
was able to announce that one of the project leaders, Penny Nestel of IFPRI
in Washington, would be based in Wageningen. The programme is intended to
develop new varieties of crops such as rice, maize and wheat with high
concentrations of nutrients. The idea is to fight deficiencies,
particularly of iron, zinc and vitamin A, in third world countries.
Wageningen is likely to focus on the effectiveness of the newly developed
crops, and the programme is likely to create at least three PhD research
topics, thanks to a thirteen-million euro injection from the EU. The US
contribution is greater, thanks to Bill Gates’ Microsoft contribution of 25
million dollars. Nutrient enriched crops can reduce disease and mortality
rates, and therefore economists are predicting that the investments will be
amply returned, and that the project will have saved up to one hundred
million dollars within ten years.
Still no plans for this Saturday, October 18?
Perhaps you didn’t know, but the Dutch Maritime Research Institute is based
in Wageningen, despite not being anywhere near the sea. The huge test
facilities at Haagsteeg 2 will be open to the public between 10.00 and
16.00. You can learn about how cruise ships react to storm conditions, how
to steer a 300-metre ship into harbour, and how models of boats are made.
There are also interactive demonstrations, and a special trail for