Professor Marcel Dicke of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) will take on the management of a large, new research project about how insects can be used as animal feed. This was announced by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The project will be conducted in collaboration with partners, including the University of Groningen, Dutch Food and Safety Authority (NVWA), insect companies, and Rabobank.
On top of the nearly €3.5 million, the insect sector itself contributed additional funding for the research. Together with partners, Wageningen University & Research will examine how insects can be bred as a type of “mini-livestock” to serve as sustainable animal feed in a circular economy. To that end, the research group will investigate the topics of health, welfare, and intrinsic value in regard to the production of insects. They will also measure the health and welfare of poultry that will be fed the insects and will make an assessment of the economic robustness of the new insect sector.
The new insect research is part of the National Science Agenda (NWA). Commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW), the NWO has funded research in the context of the NWA since 2018. In total, WUR will contribute to four NWA projects this year. The other three projects are being led by other organisations, but the knowledge of Wageningen researchers is indispensable.
In a collaboration with partners, plant researchers at WUR will try to find a way to mimic the sticky trichomes of plants, inspired by nature itself. The objective of the research is to develop a revolutionary alternative for chemical crop protection agents.
Soil scientists from Wageningen will start new research into subsidence in the Netherlands. Since the speed at which measurement solutions are becoming outdated is continually increasing, investments are being made to develop new measuring and modelling methods. This ensures that decisions about subsidence can be based on factual knowledge.
Finally, WUR scientists working within the Netherlands Centre for One Health (NCOH) on infectious diseases transmitted by insects, such as mosquitoes, will conduct research into how changes in climate, agricultural methods, water management, and travel contribute to the risk of outbreaks.
The setup of research projects of the National Science Agenda involving close collaboration between different partners, fits into WUR’s strategy of collaborating with partners to find scientific answers. More information about this can be found in our Strategic Plan for the coming years.