INREF is the development oriented Interdisciplinary Research and Education Fund of Wageningen University. Most of the problem oriented research is conducted by 'sandwich' PhD students working in groups on complex topics concerning the developing countries and emerging economies focusses on tackling the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals.

INREF programmes focus on collaboration: between disciplines, between geographical locations, between institutes including those from the countries involved (local partners) and between funding agencies by integrating various funding initiatives into concise research programmes. The Executive Board of WUR stresses the importance of collaboration to tackle the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to further develop and strengthen national, regional and world-wide Research for Development and Education (RfDE).


The most relevant objectives of the INREF programme are:

  • to contribute to excellent research by stimulating interdisciplinary collaboration and exploring new research subjects and approaches;
  • to produce research results that really make a difference for the end-users envisaged (researchers, policy makers, NGOs, farmers, business, etc.);
  • to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • to conduct and trigger innovative, interdisciplinary and comparative Research for Development and Education within Wageningen University and 'broader' WUR;
  • to strengthen interdisciplinary education programmes at Wageningen University and partner institutions;
  • to exploit and expand strategic international Research for Development and Education (RfDE) partnerships;
  • to attract additional funding.

Expected output

The main expected outputs of the INREF programme are:

  • new, interdisciplinary and innovative research approaches and methodologies;
  • increased (scientific) knowledge and insights on cross-cutting societal challenges in close relation to the SDGs, with a focus on developing countries and emerging economies;
  • expanded strategic international RfDE partnerships;
  • scientific knowledge and information that can be used for well-described stakeholders (policy makers, research and education organisations, farmers or others) in the fields of RDE;
  • interdisciplinary education modules or programmes developed at Wageningen University and/or partner institutions for BSc, MSc and PhD students;
  • increased capacity for RfDE in Southern and Northern countries;
  • stronger position of WUR in the RfDE domain;

Programme scheduling

The executive Board of Wageningen University & Research granted a fourth phase from 2018 till 2024. The fourth phase will accommodate both integrated research programmes and seed-money projects.

Involvement and monitoring

The core activity of the INREF programme is formed by interdisciplinary, multi-annual, graduate schools-overarching research programmes on complex development-related issues. The Graduate Schools will play a leading role in the development and in assuring the scientific quality of the multi-annual research programmes and will be responsible for submitting the proposals to the INREF Board.

All activities of INREF will be monitored by the INREF-board, consisting of the Rector, the Dean of Research and a Director of one of the Wageningen Graduate Schools.