Student - May 24, 2007

New partnership with Chinese universities

Wageningen has made agreements with the Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China. The best students from three bachelor-degree courses at the university will be able to do a special honours programme in their last year, organised jointly by the two universities.

The programme will be developed for Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences and Economics. Together with the Chinese university, Wageningen will select 120 candidates each year for the honours programme. The 15 best students, once they have obtained their bachelor’s degree, will be eligible to do a master’s degree in Wageningen at reduced cost. If the formula is successful, Rector Martin Kropff intends to make similar agreements with other Chinese universities.

Rien Bor of Wageningen University hopes that the new agreements will keep up the inflow of Chinese students to Wageningen. ‘Chinese universities are changing rapidly. Ten years ago there was a shortage of educational capacity in China, and many students were forced to study abroad. Now however, Chinese universities have expanded and the trend is being reversed: more and more Asian students are going to China for their studies. As a result, many American and Australian universities are experiencing falling student numbers. We hope that this construction will be a way of keeping our numbers up.’

The honours programme will be developed jointly by Wageningen and Yangling. Yangling will pay the travel and accommodation costs of Wageningen lecturers who give courses in China.

The agreements with Yangling were made during a recent visit of Wageningen managers and scientists to China. The delegation also visited the Chinese Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing, where twelve Wageningen academics made agreements with their Chinese colleagues and set up joint research programmes. The head of the Wageningen delegation, Rector Martin Kropff, expects that this will lead to more cohesive programmes for the PhD projects that Wageningen and the CAU plan to conduct jointly. Kropff was also appointed honorary professor of the CAU.

The visit ended with a symposium on Chinese-Dutch collaboration in the life sciences. ‘Wageningen UR played a prominent part,’ reported Kropff proudly. About four hundred people attended the symposium, which was opened by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Verhagen. Kropff used the opportunity to make a plea for establishing public-private partnerships so that Chinese and Dutch businesses and the governments join forces to finance research.

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