The net result of DLO is almost 10 million euros down on previous year. The DLO institutes cut 123 jobs, a good four percent of DLO’s workforce.
While the economy is starting to recover, Wageningen UR’s annual report for 2013 shows that DLO is struggling to make its income cover its expenditure. DLO recorded a loss of 3.4 million euros last year, a big drop compared with 2012, when it made a profit of 6.2 million euros.
DLO has had a problem with falling order levels for some years, initially due to government cutbacks and now because of the abolition of the commodity boards (see box). The institutes are doing their best to compensate for this by acquiring more orders from the private sector. The annual report shows that they are having some success. They obtained 48 million euros in revenue from the private sector last year, almost ten percent more than the year before. At the same time, the research budget from public authorities fell by 8 million to 42 million euros. As a result, DLO earned more from the commercial sector than from public authorities for the first time.
DLO was also able to limit the damage by reorganizing, which led to a cut in jobs of 123 FTEs, a good four percent of DLO’s workforce. Despite this, there was still a shortfall of 3.4 million euros at the end of the year.
The other part of Wageningen UR, the university, recorded a profit of 2.2 million euros in 2013. Wageningen University not only received more money through the increase in the number of students, it also scored better in the commercial sector and the European Union. Accordingly, the number of FTEs grew by 155 to 2695 FTEs.
|Rector magnificus Martin Kropff sent a strongly worded letter to the minister, Henk Kamp, in May concerning cuts in the budget for strategic and applied research. Now that the commodity boards have gone, Wageningen UR has 20 million euros a year less to spend, which puts 130 research jobs at risk. ‘That is research capacity that directly contributes to innovation in agribusiness,’ wrote Kropff. While there are plans for new organizations to replace the commodity boards as vehicles for collective investment in knowledge and innovation, Kropff fears these innovation clubs will not yet be in place next year, with applied research missing out as a result. He has turned to the minister for a solution to the problem, but Kamp has ‘sufficient confidence so far that funding from the private sector for strategic research will remain adequate’. However, should there appear to be a big problem in the next six months, he is willing to discuss the issue.|