Structuring of Agricultural Research in the Netherlands

Anton S. M. Sonnenberg

A number of changes in organization names and organization structures have been taking place in fundamental and applied agricultural research in the Netherlands. These changes have raised a number of questions in other countries (and , I have to say, in the Netherlands too) concerning the present and future position of the Mushroom Experimental Station. Although the reorganization is not completed, I will try to explain the process to some extent.

The future structure of the departments of the University of Wageningen and all agricultural research institutes in the Netherlands will be organized in science units. One of these units will be “Wageningen Plant Sciences”. This unit will bring together three units. One is “Applied Plant Research”, a recent fusion of all Experimental Stations (including the Mushroom Experimental Station). The second is “Plant Research International” and the third is the Plant Science Departments of the Agricultural University of Wageningen.

Some Experimental Stations have physically merged and are located in new buildings and/or have new locations. Each location has one or two “team leaders” who can be addressed instead of the former directors. The Mushrooom Experimental Station has merged with two other Experimental Stations but will remain at the location in Horst for the time being. Important also is that major decisions will be taken on the levels above these team leaders.

The former Mushroom Experimental Station will have one team leader and this will be a new person appointed at the beginning of August 2001. It is also important to note that most disciplines within the Mushroom Experimental Station will remain. Research on compost, breeding, pest and diseases will be continued. We might, however, lose our histological/ microscopical laboratory.

Next to a new team leader, there will be a few new faces within our research teams. I think the best moment to introduce them will be after they have been appointed.

I hope that this will shed some light on how future agricultural research is and will be organized in the Netherlands. Be assured that this will not be the last information on this subject as others have also experienced.