Organisatie - 22 september 2016

Used to the new name yet?

Yvonne de Hilster

From 6 September Wageningen UR continued as Wageningen University & Research, with a new ‘domain specifier’ tagged on for most research institutes. What do staff at these institutes think of the change? Are they getting used to it?

Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek



Anne Besse-Lototskaya, researcher at Wageningen Environmental Research (formerly Alterra), in Wageningen

‘I am still getting used to using the name in daily life but I am totally in favour of the change. I do a lot of acquisition and I notice that clients have often heard of Wageningen but not of Alterra. And it was always difficult to explain our relation with Wageningen University. People thought we were a large consultancy form linked with the university. And in EU projects we are at last rid of the confusing term DLO. With our new name we can benefit from Wageningen’s reputation and make it very clear that what we do is environmental research. And this name system promotes a sense of One Wageningen, too. Now all we’ve got to do is really start operating as One Wageningen.’



Salima Nanhekhan-Mahomed Dawood, management assistant at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (formerly CVI) in Lelystad

‘I’m already getting used to it, although I sometimes forget to say or write ‘Wageningen’. This has been our name for a while already. I’ve already made all the practical changes, to house style, name on proposals and new contracts, social media and my email signature. Communication paved the way for all that very well. The main thing now is to keep an eye on new documents. I do get messages from clients saying they would still like formal confirmation of the name change; I leave that to the legal affairs office. To me, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research sounds very professional. The only thing is that people sometimes think we are actually based in Wageningen.’


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Dolfi Debrot, researcher at Wageningen Marine Research (formerly Imares) in Den Helder

‘I still have to think a moment when I mention the name of my institute, but other than that it makes no difference to me: I’m just an employee. When it still says Imares in documents you just use “find and replace”. Wageningen Marine Research is a very suitable name. Short and to-the-point, and it indicates the organization structure, our close link with the university, and the kind of collaboration we aim at.’



Bert Brinkman, researcher at Wageningen Marine Research (formerly Imares) in Den Helder

‘I haven’t adjusted my email yet and my contacts have not yet been alerted to our name change. I think the name change will affect the brand recognition we now enjoy. Imares has made a name for itself Alterra, which is known almost all over the world. And we have our own specific client base. We were already called Wageningen Imares, and to me that was enough to show that we were part of Wageningen. What is more, the new name is longwinded. You are not allowed to abbreviate it, I gather, but it wouldn’t work anyway: WMR doesn’t tell you anything.’



Lusine Aramyan, researcher at Wageningen Economic Research (formerly the LEI) in Wageningen

‘As it happens I was planning to find out this afternoon exactly what I’m supposed to put in my email signature. The main thing that is affected by the disappearance of the name LEI is our brand familiarity in the Netherlands, I think. That has been our name for 75 years and we have never changed name before. I really have to get used to the idea myself. But overseas it won’t make much difference – everyone thought of us as “Wageningen” there anyway. And Economic Research is a good description of what we do.’


Edward Smeets, researcher at Wageningen Economic Research (formerly LEI) in Den Haag

‘Edward Smeets speaking. (…) Yes, one of my colleagues laughed about me forgetting to say Wageningen Economic Research. I still have to form that habit. But I’m getting used to the new name. I’ve changed my email signature and I make sure the new name is on new contracts. I do think it’s unfortunate that the abbreviations for Wageningen Economic Research and for Wageningen Environmental Research are the same: WER. When you work on a project in a consortium, the names of institutes are always shortened in tables and descriptions. Besides, Wageningen Economic Research is a bit strange considering the head office is in The Hague. But apart from that, I think the new name is very strong and it’s totally One Wageningen.’


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Astrid Schop, project controller at Wageningen Marine Research (formerly Imares) in Den Helder

‘No, I can’t get used to our new name at all. It’s so long as well, much too long to use among ourselves and when you have to use it several times in the course of a conversation. So I expect the name will get shortened to WMR. And it creates a lot of extra work too.  You have to make sure all the documents are adjusted, especially when they are going to external parties. And bills have to be accompanied by a letter explaining that we’ve changed our name, because someone who gave the assignment to Imares now gets a bill with a different name on it.’



Joost Lahr, researcher at Wageningen Environmental Research (formerly Alterra) in Wageningen

‘Joost Lahr, Alterra, (…) Yes I am getting used to the new name but I just had a moment of doubt when I picked up the phone. Wageningen Environmental Research is such a mouthful when you answer the phone. But I will use it for sure. I have already changed my automatic signature and informed project partners, and I end emails with: PS we have a new name. I think the name is a good idea, too. I shall miss Alterra: it was a strong brand. But I think Wageningen is an even stronger brand. What is more, I feel connected with other institutes and I work a lot with people from these other parts of the organization.’