Two of the world’s top-ranking agricultural universities are teaming up on a new food research and academic exchange agreement. This adds to a growing list of partnerships between Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Stuntverkoop, Davis.
The renewal of student and faculty exchanges between the partner universities will build on the initial focus on food science, a field in which both schools dominate.
“Major challenges in our food systems call for extraordinary advances,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who established the World Food Center as one hub for addressing these challenges. “Through international collaborations like this one, California, UC Davis and Wageningen University can continue to be proving grounds for such advances.”
Wageningen and UC Davis are also members of the United Nations Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. The Netherlands minister of agriculture and Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture signed a separate agreement in December, which committed the two governments to supporting both Wageningen and UC Davis in their climate-smart research collaboration.
Chancellor Katehi and Wageningen President Louise Fresco will sign a new agreement of collaboration in the presence of Netherlands Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker at UC Davis on March 17.
UC President Janet Napolitano, who launched the Global Food Initiative, will sign a separate UC-wide agreement on student exchanges that afternoon with the Netherlands delegation.
Enriching science with new scholars
Since its beginning more than a decade ago, the UC Davis-Wageningen exchange program has grown to include other UC campuses and over the next five years will likely expand to incorporate more areas of study.
Two Wageningen undergraduates, Nienke Kramer and Kirsten Goijvaerts, are currently studying at UC Davis. Kramer, a nutrition major, plans to pursue a master’s degree in health sciences with a focus on public health upon returning to the Netherlands. Goijvaerts is a biotechnology major, who plans to begin a master’s degree program in biotechnology when she returns home.
Both were delighted to discover that bicycles are as popular in Davis as in the Netherlands and have enjoyed the opportunity to study and travel during their exchange quarter in California.
During the past two years, six UC Davis undergraduate food science students likewise have had the opportunity to study at Wageningen University. Janie Ke, Kyra Schwaninger, Tyler Simons, Alyssa Steger, Nopmanee Suvapatrachai and Tiffany Wiriyaphanich each spent fall quarter of either 2014 or 2015 there, taking a full load of courses that fulfill the requirements of the food science major.
Acting on the UN’s climate-smart alliance
The UC Davis World Food Center’s Josette Lewis and UC Davis faculty have been working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture on Climate-Smart Agriculture, connecting campus researchers to sustainability leaders in the area of climate, food and water. Through partnerships like the Wageningen agreement, those scientists as well as rising scholars will be able to better inform policymakers, farmers and ranchers in adapting their systems to changing environments.
UC Davis hosted an international Climate-Smart Agriculture research conference in 2013 and cosponsored the 2015 climate-smart conference in France, exactly one year before the upcoming agreement signing.