Science - March 23, 2017

MOOC on feeding the world sustainably

Linda van der Nat

Wageningen is working on a special MOOC (massive open online course) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This new series of online classes will include contributions by renowned international experts, including two Wageningen professors.

Foto: Shutterstock

The MOOC was developed by the SDG Academy, an initiative of former secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to apply scientific and technical knowhow in the interests of sustainable development. The online course is about the question of how we can provide the growing world population with sufficient, and healthy, food. Eight scientists from six different universities and research institutes are contributing to the MOOC. Besides the Wageningen professors Ken Giller of Plant Production Systems and Johan Verreth of Aquaculture and Fisheries, there are professors from institutes including Rothamsted Research, Cornell University and Columbia University. This is the first time the SDG Academy has worked with WUR.

The MOOC, entitled Feeding a Hungry Planet: Agriculture, Nutrition and Sustainability, is a worthwhile one for Wageningen students to take, says project manager Anne de Valença, because it uniquely complements the Wageningen curriculum. ‘For students who are working on the theme of sustainable food supplies or are interested in it, this MOOC provides a very nice, interdisciplinary overview of the complexity of the problem and possible solutions,’ says De Valença. ‘There are courses in Wageningen on the themes of the SDGs, such as nutrition, sustainable intensification and rural development, but these are brought together for the first time in this MOOC.’

And the teachers are worth mentioning too. De Valença: ‘The course will be taught by the very best teachers in the field: they are all prominent scientists and good lecturers.’

The new MOOC will be available online from 20 March.