Green light for research on animal-free lactoprotein and robust landscape

Published on
November 25, 2020

Five research teams consisting of a variety of Wageningen researchers will start interdisciplinary research projects to generate societal and scientific breakthroughs, such as animal-free lactoprotein and climate-robust landscapes. The teams will involve many partners in their investigations. In addition to two projects that Wageningen coordinates, the WUR Researchers are partners in four other projects.

The projects are funded by the National Science Agenda: Research on Routes by Consortia (Dutch acronym: NWA-ORC). Consortia of researchers and civic partners from the public domain and private sector collaborate intensively in design, execution and implementation of research. The idea behind this approach is that societal issues will be addressed by knowledge institutes, who will continue to work with civic organisations and businesses for the duration of the research project, thus providing a positive and structural contribution to the global knowledge society of the future. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has charged the NWO with the execution of the National Science Agenda programme. In the 2019 leg, 93.5 million euros were made available on a national level.

The Wageningen allocations in Research on Routed by Consortia (NWA-ORC) in the 2019 leg are:

Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment

Through co-creation with stakeholders, we will develop the world’s first Virtual Human Platform to determine the safety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals for human health based solely on human biology. By integrating innovations in data science, human tissue culture models and transition management, we will spearhead the transition to animal-free safety assessment.

Amount allocated: 9.9 million euro.

Overall coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Utrecht University.

Animal-free milk proteins

The researchers aim to produce milk proteins without cows. Instead, they will use yeast to create a sustainable and animal-free protein alternative with the same nutritional value and structure as in milk. They will also study how this novel protein source can be embedded in society in a responsible way.

Amount allocated: 1.7 million euros

Overall coordinator on behalf of the consortium: dr. Etske Bijl – Wageningen University & Research

Consortium: Wageningen University & Research, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, HAS Hogeschool (HAS University of Applied Sciences), Alpina Productos Alimenticios S.A., Those Vegan Cowboys, Start-up Bromage, Start-up TransFarm Factory, Lallemand Inc., Voedingscentrum, Stuurgroep LIB (Landbouw Innovatie Noord-Brabant), CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Government).

CASTOR (CAtchment Strategies TOwards Resilience)   

Sandy-soil landscapes of the East and South Netherlands have a wide range of agricultural, recreational and natural functions. These functions are threatened by climate. Using a living lab approach, the researchers identify climate-robust landscapes for the future, and together with government and societal partners they will design pathways towards these.

Amount allocated: 1.9 million euros

Overall coordinator on behalf of the consortium: prof. dr. Jakob Wallinga – Wageningen University & Research

Consortium: Wageningen University & Research, Universiteit Twente, Technische Universiteit Delft, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Waterschap Vechtstromen, Waterschap Aa en Maas, Waterschap Limburg, Deltares, Wageningen Environmental Research, KWR Water Research Institute, Ministery of Infrastructure and Water Management, Vitens, 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Lumbricus, Provincie Overijssel, United Nations University (UNU).

Honoured projects with WUR as a partner:

Save the tiger! Save the grasslands! Save the water!

Less than 4000 wild tigers are alive. At the foot of the Himalayas, grasslands where the tigers hunt for deer are disappearing. The ecohydrological dynamics of these grasslands becomes characterised. From this, we will establish guidelines for sustainable management of the landscape and the water systems using co-creation.

Amount allocated: 2.7 million euros

Overall coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Utrecht University.

Introducing the immune system into drug discovery tools

Instead of using animals, the effects of drugs or therapies can be tested using miniature tissue models, mimicking organ responses. However, none of these models currently include the lymphatic and immune systems, despite their importance to our health. The researchers will develop “organ-on-chip” models with integrated lymphatics, providing a precision tool in the battle against immune-related diseases.

Amount allocated: 4.9 million euros

Overall coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC).

Looking for the limes: the Romans in the Netherlands

This project investigates how borders work and how they can become visible as cultural and political constructs. It looks particularly at the limes, the border of the Roman Empire in the Netherlands, how it was constructed and what its societal impact has been from the Roman period until today.

Amount allocated: 4.1 million euros

Overall coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Utrecht University.