Wageningen Dialogue

Open Discussion: The Impact of Collaboration

All staff, students, partners and other interested parties are invited to join this open dialogue and critical discussion, initiated by RUW Foundation and OtherWise, about the strengths and weaknesses of collaboration between WUR and the private sector.

Organised by RUW Foundation & OtherWise

Tue 25 May 2021 17:30 to 19:00

Venue Online

With the arrival of R&D centers of companies like Unilever on campus, questions and concerns about the influence of large companies on the research and education are arising. Students and professors are worried about the university’s independence and what it means to science. Some question to what extent WUR’s research agenda is influenced by these collaborations. Others state that collaborations lead to more knowledge exchange, higher impact and have advantages for students’ career developments. 

What do you think about the impact of collaboration? RUW Foundation and Otherwise host an ''interactive talk show'' about the impact of collaboration between WUR and the private sector. The aim is to give space to all perspectives so you can shape, sharpen or even adjust your opinion. 

More information in the Facebook-event.

A diverse panel is brought together, to discuss the issue at hand with each other and with you:

dr. ir. Anne Mensink, Business Developer, Wageningen Campus

Anne Mensink

Anne studied Molecular Sciences in Wageningen. After obtaining her PhD at the Department of Toxicology she obtained (R & D) management positions within the food industry (Numico Research) and the  Centre for Infectious Disease Control (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment / RIVM). In addition, she has worked as Senior Scientific Officer and Director International Affairs at Foodvalley NL and has provided research and consultancy services on science, technology and innovation (strategy) at Technopolis Group. Anne has been working as a business developer at Wageningen University & Research for two and a half years, focusing on the thriving ecosystem of Wageningen Campus.

prof. Bram Büscher, Chair Sociology of Development and Change group, WUR

Bram Büscher

Bram Büscher is Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University and holds visiting positions at the University of Johannesburg and Stellenbosch University. Bram has published widely on the relations between nature, development and politics and is the author of ‘The Truth About Nature. Environmentalism in the Era of Post-Truth Politics and Platform Capitalism (University of California Press, 2021) and co-author, together with Robert Fletcher, of ‘The Conservation Revolution: Radical Ideas for Saving Nature Beyond the Anthropocene’ (Verso, 2020). Bram is one of the senior editors of Conservation & Society.

dr.ir. Ernst van den Ende, Director Plant Science Group, WUR

Ernst van den Ende

Ernst van den Ende is the Managing Director of Plant Sciences since 2009 and member of the board of directors of Wageningen University and Research. He studied in Wageningen (Plant Pathology, MSc & Phd) and worked several years as a scientist in applied research institutes (focussing on biological production & IPM in several horticultural sectors. In his role as head of Plant Sciences he sees it as a great responsibility to create impact on a global scale with a combination of fundamental and applied plant sciences and he really enjoys working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders that want to use their knowledge to create a more sustainable agriculture/world.

dr. Manfred Aben, Global Vice President Science & Technology and Site Leader Food Innovation Centre Wageningen, Unilever

Manfred Aben

Manfred Aben was appointed Global VP Foods and Refreshment S&T in 2018, overseeing the development and application of new science and technology across the foods, ice-cream and tea business. He leads teams in the UK, Netherlands and India. He is Site Leader of the Unilever Global Foods Innovation Centre, that opened in 2019 in the heart of the Dutch Food Valley, Wageningen. In 2020 he joined the Supervisory Board of Unilever Nederland B.V. Manfred spent eight years in Asia. From 2011-2013 as R&D Director Foodsolutions across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, based in Singapore. After that as Personal Care R&D Director in Indonesia, and from 2016-2018 as VP R&D North Asia, heading the Global R&D lab in Shanghai. Between 2004 and 2011, Manfred held a variety of senior Foods R&D roles. Manfred joined Unilever in 1995 in The Netherlands as a Knowledge Engineer. He holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Amsterdam.

Solina Diallo, WUR student

Solina Diallo

Solina is a BSc International Development Student that has been advocating with different student collectives to raise awareness on the lack of transparency and democracy in the private sector collaboration of WUR. Their actions have never been against collaborations with the private sector as such. They are aware they are necessary and sometimes also valuable. Yet, private sector collaboration puts into question some very fundamental values and functions of science. 

After the talk show with the panel, there will be an open dialogue and interactive discussion with the online audience. The evening is moderated by Sigrid Smeele, process facilitator of complex challenges at De Droomfabriek. Sigrid is a WUR alumna.