Veluwe Post, Friday, March 7, 2008 - Page 53
'Wageningen bulges out of knowledge'
'New developments in Wageningen are used for international projects
BY JAN BOER
Renaat Van Rompaey, "We tackle the most difficult
WAGENINGEN - Renaat Van Rompaey is managing director of Wix, a young company, which focuses on the effective deployment of high Wageningen knowledge in international projects. Recently WIX started a expert group, which develops international projects in the field of sustainable tourism.
Renaat of Rompaey comes from the Belgian Ghent and now twenty years in Wageningen. Van Rompaey: "In Belgium Wageningen is the Valhalla of the green universities. I did research on forest gradients in West Africa to understand the tropical rain forest better. All these tree species occur in a certain structure. It is about sustainable management of the forest. In Africa one learns about the world and how it works: you see the abuse of development aid, you get surprised how ineffective it is. You also see how things go wrong: forests disappear and animal species die out. The approach is wrong. But nobody cares."
Van Rompaey points to the Ivory Coast: "It goes totally wrong there. Wageningen has dropped West Africa as a brick. Researchers often return, not to the 'place of crime', but to the place of their PhD research. WUR has invested 50 years in the Ivory Coast. Where is the archive? Nowhere! The Suriname archive and that of Costa Rica is zero! Incomprehensible! ". Van Rompaey says:" Wageningen calls itself a knowledge institute. That is not true! Wageningen delivers diplomas and publications . Thereafter the university says : "Go now and find a job with your knowledge!"
Wageningen bulges out of knowledge. Brussels on the contrary bulges out of funds. There is a high demand for solve the world's problems. Wageningen has too much knowledge, but knowledge now is only relevant in ten years time in Brussels and The Hague". Renaat of Rompaey sees that there is a great deal of knowledge about Africa getting lost:" I think that I am the only Liberia expert in the Netherlands. There are so many things getting lost and ones happily starts new things. I taught in Brussels knowledge from Wageningen.
Liaise with clients in search of solutions
Then is it about his company WIX: "Knowledge is in people, experts. I look for experts, who have something to tell about the world's problems. Then I link these people to a client in search of solutions. One sells knowledge of experts. That is WIx! We look for a client, who has a specific problem. Nowadays, for example there is a lot of demand about nature and the environment at the edge of Europe, as in the Balkans. Then I make an offer and I compose an expert team : ecologists, sociologists, economists. I do the sales, contracting and I stay involved in the content ". Van Rompaey opted for international experts," I also visit the terrain, like recently in Borneo. Researchers are not good at lobbying contracts . I operate as an independent consultant. Wix's good at tackling the most difficult problems on forestry, like in the Congo or on Borneo. Yes, there is also some idealism involved". - See further www.wix.nl .-