Financial allocation for research facilities at Wageningen University & Research

November 8, 2023

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has awarded approximately 40 million euros in the first funding round of the Facilities for Applied Research programme to four proposals from Wageningen Research for high-quality and future-proof research facilities.

These facilities enable innovative research in the fields of consumer behaviour and food technology, food safety, innovative greenhouse systems, and automated and circular cultivation systems. This funding serves as an incentive for state-of-the-art research facilities, addressing the global agricultural and food challenges.

FoodTech Facility

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research receives funding for the establishment of a state-of-the-art processing hall, the FoodTech facility. This facility includes state-of-the-art research facilities in food processing technology, product formulation, and consumer research, supported by AI techniques. The FoodTech facility connects fundamental and applied science with other (national, international) universities, research institutions, startups, and businesses.

Sustainable high tech research greenhouse

Wageningen Plant Research will establish a state-of-the-art research greenhouse facility in Bleiswijk with the financial allocation. The plan envisions the construction of a greenhouse complex consisting of a total of 24 research greenhouses and an integrated operational hall. This research facility will facilitate the development of knowledge and technology in the fields of fossil-free, low-chemical, and emission-free cultivation of resilient crops.

New technologies such as sensors, Artificial Intelligence, data management, and automation will be employed to enhance production efficiency and make it more labour-friendly. The research greenhouse facility is equipped to conduct the necessary research, and is thus essential for strengthening the position of Dutch horticulturists and suppliers, while promoting sustainable greenhouse cultivation worldwide.

Greenhouses and climate chambers at Unifarm

Unifarm, the research facility of Wageningen Plant Research for strategic and application-oriented plant research, aims to maintain its unique innovative character with the upgraded research facilities to ensure contemporary and future plant research. The resources will be allocated to the construction of two advanced research greenhouses and 22 advanced research climate chambers.

These facilities are designed to acquire the necessary knowledge in the field of plant production and to better understand the various functions, interactions and processes in plants, down to the molecular level. In addition, the investment in the research facility makes it possible to generate knowledge about the various applications of plant components in the bioeconomy and for health purposes.

BSL-3 facility for food and animal feed analyses

Wageningen Food Safety Research will allocate the investment in a Biosafety Level-3 facility to enhance preparedness for future microbiological risks. This research facility will enable WUR to analyse new high-risk pathogens that are transmitted through food or animal feed, including multi-resistant micro-organisms and viruses, in preparation for new pathogen outbreaks. Research is also conducted to determine the infectivity of viruses and to study their transmissibility through food and surfaces. In-depth research is being conducted on antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

Minister Adriaansens commends the Dutch knowledge base
The subsidy for applied research facilities is part of a broader financial support scheme for facilities provided to TO2 organizations and government knowledge institutions. Minister Adriaansens of Economic Affairs and Climate emphasizes the importance of this investment in research and innovation: "The Dutch knowledge base remains exceptionally strong. However, knowledge does not succeed in the market on its own, we are facing increasing competition in the global innovation landscape, especially in technologies necessary for sustainability and digitalization. To remain successful, excellent and modern research facilities are the foundation."

Prospective funding rounds

In 2024, in addition to the funding granted so far, an investment budget will be made available for new proposals in the field of greenhouse gas monitoring, climate, and air quality, as well as for digitalization through the application of data. These investments, sourced by the government from the Research and Science Fund, will not only strengthen the Netherlands' position as a global leader in agriculture and food but also contribute to a more sustainable and healthier future for all of us.