Wageningen University alumnus Paul Vlek was awarded the GCHERA World Agriculture Prize on September 20th 2014. The internationally renowned scientist and former director of the Center for Development Research at Bonn University was honoured for his achievements in the education of students and researchers as well as its worldwide cooperation projects. The prize is worth $ 50,000 and was presented at the GCHERA World Dialogue on Education and Innovation in Agricultural and Life Sciences at the Nanjing Agricultural University in China.
In his acceptance speech, Paul Vlek referred to the Wageningen approach and the importance of 'T-shaped skills' (specialisation in one field, with the ability to connect with other disciplines) in the training of academics and professionals in agricultural and environmental disciplines.
Professor Dr Martin Kropff, rector magnificus of Wageningen University and one of the keynote speakers during the GCHERA World Dialogue, was one of the first people to congratulate Paul Vlek with the Award. Kropff spoke about the role of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the success of the Dutch Agri-Food sector, and how PPPs can play a crucial role in solving today’s Global Challenges with regard to Agriculture, Food, Health and Environment.
Paul Vlek (66) was born in Amsterdam and studied Agricultural Sciences with a focus on soil science at Wageningen. He graduated in 1972. After completing his PhD at Colorado State University (USA), he worked as a research assistant at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC). First he was active as a research group leader and then as its director in Togo. As a professor at the Georg-August-University Göttingen, he was Director of the Institute of Agronomy in the Tropics, speaker of the Collaborative Research Center and Dean of the Faculty.
In 1998 he moved to the University of Bonn and was a co-founder and longtime director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF). Among other things, he founded the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). Today he is active in advising international research organizations.
GCHERA World Agriculture Prize (WAP)
GCHERA has the mission to encourage and support global cooperation among agricultural and life sciences higher education associations and their member universities, as to enhance innovation and leadership in education, research and society as a whole. The GCHERA World Agriculture Prize (WAP) is awarded to individuals that have delivered a distinguished contribution to this mission.