University aims to set up foreign branches
Wageningen University is planning to examine the possibilities for setting
up auxiliary branches in countries outside the Netherlands. This is one of
the main points in the new ‘institutional plan’ that was released this
This is the first joint four-year plan for the university and the DLO
research institutes, and internationalisation features prominently in it.
The Executive Board indicates in the plan that it wants to look into the
possibilities for opening branches abroad. A branch somewhere in Eastern
Europe for example would make it easier to break into the local market,
thereby attracting students and winning research contracts.
In addition the Executive Board also indicates that it wants to build up
new alliances with top international research institutes. The university
already cooperates with six agricultural faculties in north-western Europe
(the Euroleague) and two in China, the Chinese Agricultural University
(CAU) and the University of Nanjing. Wageningen is also seeking to form
relations with North American universities in the near future.
There are also plans to form joint ventures with institutes in countries
including Vietnam and Ecuador similar to those Wageningen already has with
the Chinese universities. Wageningen now has joint degree courses with the
Chinese Agricultural University in Nutrition, Food Technology and
Biotechnology. The first group of 90 Chinese students is due to arrive in
Wageningen at the beginning of the next academic year to complete their
joint degree course.
Wageningen university is also seeking to increase the number of
international students in the coming years, aiming for 500 non-Dutch
students by 2006. At present there are about 300 international students.
The university also predicts that by the same year about half of the 260
PhDs awarded annually will go to foreign researchers.
The Executive Board also indicates in the institutional plan that the
groups within the university that succeed in attracting more students will
receive more money. The amount that groups receive for completed PhDs will
also increase. In this way the Executive Board plans to reward ‘good’
groups and prevent work pressure from becoming too high in the groups with
high student numbers. The extra budget will make it easier to attract new
The institutional plan was made public this week, but is still a draft
version. It will be discussed in the coming months with the employees’
council and heads of departments.