Wageningen University (WU) is one of the leading international universities in the field of healthy food and living environment. The top quality of research at WU is crowned with WU’s position within the top 6 of the important citation indexes of its domain. WU consists of one school which covers Animal, Plant, Environmental, Agro technology and Food and Social Sciences. WU, therefore, fosters the unique interaction between natural and social sciences. Both science domains participate in this proposal: the Animal Production Systems (APS) group from animal sciences, and the Rural Sociology (RS) group from social sciences.
The APS group uses systems analysis to understand complex livestock systems in order to explore and design a sustainable future. This research group focuses on exploring the consequences of innovations in livestock systems (trade-offs and synergies), with a special focus on the relation between the impact on the environment, the welfare of the animal (including health), and economic viability. Research explores systems at farm, chain, and regional level, both in developed and developing countries. The aim is to develop systems that respect animals and their multiple functions, use resources efficiently, minimize emissions to the environment and are economically viable.
The Rural Sociology (RS) group studies the dynamics of rural and regional development processes all over the world and is a leading research group in rural social studies. Specific attention is paid to the different levels at which transformation processes occur and are shaped, as well as to the different actors and institutions involved. Characteristic is the comparative and empirically driven research approach. Areas of expertise include styles of farming, rural transformation, sustainable agriculture, dynamics of food supply chains, rural-urban relationships, multifunctional agriculture, socioeconomic impact of rural development, land management and gender issues. An important feature of its research is the multidisciplinary approach. Equally relevant is the close cooperation with stakeholders and policymakers.