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, organize workshops, give presentations, design calculation models and write feasibility studies.
The assignments that students can solve are different in nature. This depends on the subject in which students work on the assignment. For example, it may be a (reletively) 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 how this future circular food system should look like. The ACT student team was asked to develop various scenario’s by using the multi-stakeholder participatory approach. As final future vision, the students proposed the ‘multi-scale circular’ scenario, in which as well production-oriented areas as decentralized agro-ecological systems co-exist in the same region.
Commissioner: Living Lab Regio Food Valley Circular Period: November – December 2019
The association Agroforestry the Netherlands (Stitching Agrobosbouw Nederland) 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 such an agroforestry farm, the ACT student team considered various aspects like social-economical, hydrological and agricultural features. Next 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 specialized mountain and jungle programs. The students were asked to investigate what changes can be made in the canteen, considering 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, interviews with stakeholders and nutritional experts. The students structured their final advice in four pillars: targeted nutrition, environment, timing and education. They have also made a proposed planning 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 organization 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 executed a problem analysis. Based on this, they formulated a long list with structural solutions considering 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 lightening. Students were asked if dynamic light is influencing 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 with inspiration on what is possible today as well as where the latest science could be leading to. 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 the present and possible 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 quick scan, herewith 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. Furthermore, the students designed factsheets to provide the farmers with the most essential information of pest and diseases in their orchards.
Commissioner: Crop Eye Period: November – December 2018
The commissioner, Sunchrem, wants to explore the possibility of creating a general molecular farming platform based on a nicotine-free SL632 tobacco variety. The ACT student team has developed an overview of different possibilities for using SL632. They investigated edible vaccines and the possibility to produce non-germinating 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 and production of collagen in SL632
REEFolution, founded in the Netherlands in 2015, aims to recover coral reef ecosystems through ecosystem restoration and at the same time to secure local traditional livelihoods. It 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 do have the potential to run inclusive and fair projects for conservation and for local people. The ACT student team developed based on expert knowledge and literature 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. In pixel farming, many different food and service crops are planted together in complex arrangements, made up for small-resolution ‘pixels’ of different species sown next to each other. The students were asked to investigate the requirements for mechanization in complex agroecological farming systems and the potential of current state of the art robotics to meet such requirements. The ACT student team develop through literature reviews and interviews a list of the requirements on robots for pixel farming in practice from a technical and economical point of view. Furthermore, a morphological chart has been made to show the state of art components for robot designs that can be applied for 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 fiber flax production could be introduced in the region of Gelderland. This advice included the mapping of suitable areas for flax cultivation and a choice for suitable fiber flax varieties. Commissioner: ArtEZ University of the Arts Period: January - March 2019
Currently, hop stems are considered a by-product after harvesting the flowers for beer production. Fashion designer Eduarda de Azevedo Bastian wonders 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 fibers for the textile industry. As product the team came up with a theoretical protocol to soften the hop stem fibers in an eco-friendly way without harming of weakening the fibers itself.
Commissioner: Centre of Expertise Future Makers, Eduarda de Azevedo Bastian Period: March - May 2020
In Wageningen, the big question remains: how can solar fields 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 product, the student team has proposed various set-ups for multiple land-use solar parks in Wageningen. Next to this, the team has advised the municipality to introduce additional ecological demands to the master plan of solar parks. 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