So far, few staff at Wageningen Research (WR) have made use of the ‘equalization budget’ that lets them pass on their expertise by teaching at Wageningen University. There have been 25 applications for grants from the fund since 1 January but nearly all these employees were already teaching last year.
Since January 2017, staff at Wageningen Research have been able to apply for a teaching bonus from the equalization budget if they lecture at the university. Before then, it was difficult for the university to hire WR staff for teaching activities because the hourly rate charged by the institutes is more than the education allowance. According to the Executive Board, the equalization budget facilitates collaboration between Wageningen Research and the university education and therefore helps create One Wageningen.
The Executive Board has put aside 250,000 euros a year for the fund but after nearly six months only 50,000 has been spent, says Marion Engel of the Education Institute. In the past few months, 25 applications were submitted for 18 WR employees; 19 applications were approved. But these were nearly always institute staff who were already teaching last year. Then, they received a bottle of wine or book token for their efforts. Now they get paid properly from the budget.
In other words, so far the scheme is not encouraging the chair groups to hire more WR lecturers, concludes Engel. She is not surprised because the chair groups draw up a teaching plan for each academic year and the scheme has only been running for a little under six months. It should become clear in the next few months whether the chair groups will be hiring more institute staff next academic year.