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Management and Organisation

PE&RC is primarily a collaborative research network; the research is a bottom up activity and largely the result of the activities and initiatives of the individual research groups. Clearly, however, these individual research groups display their research and other activities within the general scientific framework and strategic plan of PE&RC, which they, in turn, shape and define. Crucially, PE&RC has an important task and holds instruments to stimulate strategic alliances between research groups for interdisciplinary research and thus support and strengthen a more coherent overall research network. Within this framework, the main role of PE&RC is:

  1. To develop, coordinate and facilitate education and training of PhD candidates;
  2. To improve and safeguard the quality of academic research (PhD candidates, postdocs and academic staff);
  3. To stimulate the development of a coherent academic research programme, with accompanying strategic research plans, and to act as a national platform within its field.
Collaboration between research groups

Collaboration between research groups is beneficial, sometimes even essential, to maximise scientific excellence, relevance, and impact, particularly given the relatively small size of some of the research groups. PE&RC has initiated the development of a platform structure which is meant to foster collaboration between groups/scientists with complementary expertise that can be used to:

  • serve as a think-tank for strategic issues;
  • share methodological expertise;
  • exchange ideas and bridge the gap between different research approaches/ways of thinking;
  • facilitate interdisciplinarity in terms of questions and methods across scales and levels;
  • facilitate co-innovation and stakeholder involvement (i.e. the transdisciplinary approach);
  • develop broader umbrella/showcase projects to increase the international profile or outreach potential;
  • interact with industry;
  • engage in societal debates.

To illustrate how the staff, groups, and management of PE&RC use collaborations to reach these aims, we briefly discuss the Taskforce Ecology. Ecology is one of the central themes within PE&RC. In 2013, the PE&RC Board initiated the Taskforce Ecology composed of mid-career, highly recognized staff of Wageningen University in the field of ecology. The Taskforce was challenged to define a strategic vision on what is needed in the context of the grand sustainability challenges of our time, while at the same time the pertinent research groups should feel that the strategic vision really matters for them. The report of this Taskforce can be found here. This, among others, resulted in the suggestion for a centre on nature conservation, which has been incorporated in the profile for a recently recruited full professor in the field of Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation.

Management structure

The organisational structure of the Graduate School PE&RC is presented in the figure below. More details about the different units presented in this figure can be obtained by clicking a unit in the left side menu.