Pressure of work in the DLO research institutes was the subject of an
investigation in 2001 which concluded that, after the merger with
Wageningen University, the pressure especially on department heads was
Two years later it seems that progress is taking place, but very slowly.
The lack of a clear organisational structure and clarity about where
responsibilities lie are at the heart of the problems incurred after
privatisation, the merger and the distancing from the Ministry of
Agriculture. Various institutes are working on the relations between
managers and a clearer division of labour. Performance evaluation
assessments are also being replaced by the newly developed ‘Results and
The department of Education and Student Affairs (OSA) is taking complaints
from the WSO about the level of English seriously.
According to director of OSA Paul Deneer, English courses for lecturers
should no longer be voluntary, and incoming international students should
be tested more thoroughly on their level of English. The Language Centre
(CENTA) is developing a new test that also includes listening and speaking
skills. There is already a course available for lecturers, but many do not
attend due to an already heavy workload.
If we are to believe the TV commercials a Mediterranean diet of fish, olive
oil, vegetables and fruit should ensure we all live to a ripe age in good
Not so, say Wageningen researchers from the Human Nutrition and
Epidemiology group. They followed a group of 480 elderly people in seven
countries for a period of ten years, noting many aspects of their lives.
The aim was to uncover which factors help prevent natural decline and which
accelerate it. It appears that a Mediterranean diet does not delay decline.
Exercise and not smoking on the other hand do help to slow down aging. The
results of the research were published in February edition of the American
Journal of Public Health.
Researchers from LEI and CGN (Centre for Genetic Resources) did market
research on local vegetables in Indonesia and Cambodia and came up with a
proposal to improve local varieties. Using breeding techniques it should be
possible to make bitter melons less bitter, pumpkins bigger and more
attractive so that farmers can sell local products to hotels and
restaurants, thus increasing their cash income. At the same time this will
help to revive genetic diversity, which has declined in previous years as
farmers concentrated on rice and a few imported vegetable varieties such as
cucumbers. The project is supported by FAO and the Dutch ministry of