Network concentrates soil expertise. Soil Experience outing on campus. All the Wageningen soil expertise under one flag: that is the idea behind the Wageningen Soil Network (WSN) which was launched this week.
The network, which includes the NIOO as well as Wageningen UR, was launched with a spadeful of sand. The sand was dug out of the campus soil and will be analysed in several Wageningen labs. This gesture is symbolic of what the WSN stands for: pooling knowledge. Not just in order to improve internal collaboration, but also to make Wageningen’s soil expertise more visible to the outside world. The sand samples were taken from around the Walk of Fame between Atlas and Orion. A display board will be placed next to the path to mark the launch of the soil network. The occasion for the establishment of the network is the international year of the soil. From now on, all soil-related activities will be publicized through the WSN. Several new initiatives are planned as well. On the research side, the high point will be the second Wageningen Soil Conference in August. The last one was held in 2011 and the second edition was deliberately planned for this year, says Gerben Mol of Alterra, Chair of the Wageningen Soil Network working group. ‘A four-day scientific conference at which we expect about 300 scientists.’ Another new initiative is the Wageningen Soil Experience, which offers an outing on the campus that draws attention to the soil research going on there. Mol has two versions in mind: one for the general public and one for visiting scientists. According to spokesperson Simon de Ridder, the idea is to tell ‘the Wageningen soil story’. He is referring to the reason the agricultural college that grew into Wageningen University was located here in the first place: the diverse soil types that meet here.