Students of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) can contribute to solving your problem in various ways. For example, they develop visions for the future, conduct interviews, organise workshops, give presentations, design calculation models and write feasibility studies.
The assignments that students can solve are very varied. This depends on the subject on which students work for the assignment. For example, it may be a (relatively) short literature study, a multidisciplinary consultancy assignment, an extensive study (literature and data collection) or a short practical study.
To get an impression of possible assignments, examples of different student projects are shown below. The assignments are divided into 10 labels.
The Food Valley, an agricultural region located in the middle of the Netherlands, has the ambition to become a leading example of sustainable food production by implementing circular innovations. However, it remains uncertain what form this future circular food system should take. The ACT student team was asked to develop various scenarios by using the multi-stakeholder participatory approach. As final future vision, the students proposed the ‘multi-scale circular’ scenario, in which both production-oriented areas and decentralised agro-ecological systems co-exist in the same region.
Commissioner: Living Lab Regio Food Valley Circular Period: November – December 2019
The Dutch Agroforestry Association is focussing on further expanding and disseminating the theoretical and practical knowledge of agroforestry in the Netherlands. The students were asked to use their creativity to develop an agroforestry farm on land owned by water companies which is economically profitable and creates safe drinking water at the same time. To design this kind of agroforestry farm, the ACT student team considered various aspects such as social-economical, hydrological and agricultural aspects. In addition to the advisory report, the students produced a factsheet which the commissioner could use immediately.
Commissioner: Living lab Regio Food Valley Circular Period: November – December 2019
The Marine Corps Training Centre (MOC) provides 117 military courses ranging from the initial training of recruits to highly specialised mountain and jungle programmes. The students were asked to investigate what changes can be made in the canteen, taking into account the interest of stakeholders, in order to improve the nutritional intake of trainees. The ACT student team used a mix of methods: literature study, observations and interviews with stakeholders and nutritional experts. The students structured their final advice in four pillars: targeted nutrition, environment, timing and education. They also proposed a plan to implement their recommendations.
Commissioner: Marine Corps Training Centre (MOC) Period: May – June 2019
The commissioner, Rehabilitation Centre Zuiderhout, is part of Zorgbalans, a large elderly care organisation in the region Kennemerland and Zuid-Holland Noord. The commissioner wants to make nutrition and physical activities an integral part of its rehabilitation activities. Therefore, students were asked to develop a strategy and to give advice on how to implement this new integral approach in the rehabilitation centre. The ACT student team carried out a problem analysis. Based on this, they formulated a long list with structural solutions taking into account the perspective of the patient, the healthcare professional and the organisation.
Commissioner: Rehabilitation Centre Zuiderhout Period: November – December 2018
The commissioner, LuxBalance Lighting, a start-up based in Hong Kong, has a focus on life-centric lighting. Students were asked if dynamic light influences the growth and quality of fruit and/or vegetables. The ACT student team provided LuxBalance Lighting with a scientific perspective on how their dynamic lighting product could be used in the vertical farming of lettuce. They showed several possibilities with dynamic lighting for vertical farming inspired by what is possible today as well as potential future options. Commissioner: LuxBalance Lighting Period: November – December 2019
The commissioner, Crop Eye, wants to introduce hazel and walnut cultivation in a sustainable and economically viable way. The students were asked to investigate present and potential biotic threats affecting these two crops in the Netherlands, and particularly to specify how to identify, monitor and manage them. The ACT student team has performed a brief study, identifying present and future pest and disease problems for the Netherlands. The students consulted scientific and professional literature, and they interviewed Dutch farmers and professionals from outside the Netherlands. In addition, the students designed factsheets to provide the farmers with the most essential information on pest and diseases in their orchards.
Commissioner: Crop Eye Period: November – December 2018
The commissioner, Sunchem, wants to explore the possibility of creating a general molecular farming platform based on the SL632 Nicotiana tabacum variety. This variety has high seed production and ultra low nicotine content. The ACT student team has developed an overview of different possibilities for using SL632 as production platform. They investigated edible vaccines made in the seeds, the use of SL632 seeds in animal nutrition and possible effects of nicotine on edible applications. Furthermore, they addressed the potential market applications of cyanophycin produced in combination with biofuel.
REEFolution, founded in the Netherlands in 2015, aims to recover coral reef ecosystems by ecosystem restoration and at the same time to secure local traditional livelihoods. It has established protected areas and is running a successful community-based conservation (CBC) project in Kenya. Students were asked to design an assessment framework that can be used by REEFolution to assess if other locations have the potential to run inclusive and fair projects for conservation and for local people. Based on expert knowledge and literature, the ACT student team developed a Global Location Assessment Framework tool that deeply intertwines the three main categories: People, Planet and Profit. They double checked their outcome with locals in Kenya during three different interviews.
Commissioner: REEFolution Period: March – April 2018
The Farming Systems Ecology Group of Wageningen University is experimenting with pixel farming. The students were asked to investigate the requirements for mechanisation in complex agroecological farming systems and the potential of current state-of-the-art robotics to meet these requirements. The ACT student team will develop detailed literature reviews and interviews based on a list of the requirements for robots in pixel farming in practice from a technical and economical point of view. In addition, a morphological chart has been made to show the state-of-the-art components for robot designs that can be applied in pixel farming. Finally, the students created a sketch design of a robot which could be used in the diversified pixel cropping system.
Commissioner: Farming Systems Ecology Group of Wageningen University Period: May – June 2020
The feasibility of local linen was researched in this project by exploring the economic and environmental conditions for locally cultivated flax. This assignment ties in with 'The Linen Project', a long-term multi-disciplinary research project within the Ecosystems research area of studies within 'Fashion Held in Common', the new curriculum of the ArtEZ MA Fashion Design that started in September 2018. The ACT student team gave advice on how sustainable farming practices of fibre flax production could be introduced in the region of Gelderland. This advice included the mapping of suitable areas for flax cultivation and the selection of suitable fibre flax varieties. Commissioner: ArtEZ University of the Arts Period: January - March 2019
Currently, hop stems are considered a by-product after the flowers have been harvested for beer production. Fashion designer Eduarda de Azevedo Bastian is considering whether these leftovers could be used in a different way. The ACT student team was commissioned to research the feasibility of using hop stems to produce fibres for the textile industry. As a product the team came up with a theoretical protocol to soften the hop stem fibres in an eco-friendly way without harming or weakening the fibres.
Commissioner: Centre of Expertise Future Makers, Eduarda de Azevedo Bastian Period: March - May 2020
In Wageningen the big question is still: how can solar parks be combined with the improvement of landscape and biodiversity, and/or other functions such as agriculture? The ACT student team was commissioned to research concepts for multifunctional and nature-inclusive solar parks and to map the financial packages. As a product, the student team has proposed various set-ups for multiple land-use solar parks in Wageningen. In addition, the team has advised the municipality to include additional ecological requirements in the Solar Park Masterplan. The findings of the ACT study were incorporated in the Vision for the rural area of Wageningen - Visie Buitengebied.
Commissioner: Municipality of Wageningen Period: January - March 2020