Science - July 6, 2006

Wageningen UR in Chinese top three

China has chosen three international top-notch universities for cooperation in the field of food, agriculture and the environment. One of these is Wageningen UR. Rector magnificus Martin Kropff travelled to China two weeks ago to conclude the agreements.

The rector was accompanied by Rien Bor from education marketing and Jon Fongers of Wageningen International. They had talks with various Chinese knowledge institutes about how to extend cooperation within the existing BSc, MSc and PhD programmes.
Of the five hundred international MSc students at Wageningen University, about one hundred are already from China. Besides Wageningen UR, the American Davis and Cornell universities are the top institutes favoured by China for students who go abroad.

‘The Chinese universities select their best students and send them to high-powered institutes abroad for an MSc, after which they return to China,’ explains Kropff. This way they expand their know-how considerably in a short time.

As a result of the rapid development China has undergone in the recent period, it is one of the most important ‘focus countries’ of Wageningen UR. ‘There is an awful lot going on there in terms of food, agriculture and the environment. China has become a partner on an equal footing, and we want to extend our relations.’

Joint research projects are also part of the relationship. Wageningen UR has more than 160 running in China. In addition, China wants to send more self-financing PhD students to Wageningen. ‘That’s a wonderful development,’ remarked Kropff.

In addition to Chinese students coming to Wageningen, the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in Yangling is interested in setting up a Wageningen campus in China itself, initially for MSc programmes in Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences and Aquaculture and Management, Economics and Consumer Studies. A delegation from Yangling will come to Wageningen in August to discuss these plans further.

The Nanjing Agricultural University and China Agricultural University (CAU) will also visit Wageningen later this year. In addition to discussing scientific cooperation, CAU is coming to organise a meeting in China with professors from Wageningen, on the subject of cooperation within the joint programmes. / LH