Polish-Dutch veterinary scientific cooperation supported by the Dutch Embassy

The Dutch agricultural sector has many strengths, in technologies, innovation or sector organization (such as the golden triangle – the close cooperation between science, public and private sector), but you cannot apply the same model in all circumstances. The task of the Dutch Embassy, and in particular of the agricultural counselor, is to make the connection and see where the Netherlands can contribute and exchange knowledge. Therefore, a lot of effort is made to support and promote the cooperation between Dutch and Polish companies, but also academic and research institutions. In that respect the Embassy supports the already developed cooperation between Polish and Dutch scientific organizations in the veterinary sector.

kring van handen die elkaar vast houden. samenwerking
Beeld: ©Pexels

This cooperation dates back to September 2015 when an Expression of Interest concerning the cooperation in the field of animal sciences has been signed between Polish and Dutch institutions, involving:

on the Dutch side

  • Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen University and Research,

and on the Polish side:

  •  Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science of the Poznań University of Life Sciences,
  • Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences,
  • National Veterinary Research Institute in Puławy.

Since that time WUR works closely with the Institute of Genetics and Animal Husbandry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), the University of Life Sciences in Poznan (PULS) and the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) to better map out the expertise for research projects on animal sciences. The collaboration focuses on topics that are relevant to both the Netherlands and Poland: smart livestock farming, food, animal health, animal welfare, precision agriculture and livestock production systems.

Here you can see a short movie about the cooperation.

The cooperation between the Netherlands and Poland offers both countries opportunities to build a joint scientific network. It is certainly important for Poland to participate in the EU funded collaborative projects. Exchange of knowledge and best practices can improve research performance in Poland.

For WUR, the collaboration offers opportunities to create stronger consortia when applying for EU research projects and to access research and researchers from Poland and other Eastern European countries collaborating with Poland.

The Polish-Dutch veterinary scientific cooperation is an outstanding example when the two countries can collaborate, exchange experience, develop their networks, improve their performance, innovate and benefit from it at the same time. Sharing knowledge and expertise is of great advantage to all parties involved.

It must be underlined that the joint actions are also promoted at the EU arena when competing for EU funding. There are now 55 ongoing EU-related projects, 15 of which stem directly from this collaboration in the veterinary scientific field.

The ongoing Polish-Dutch initiatives in the veterinary sector prove successful and stable. Following the signature of an Expression of Interest, the scientists, with the support from the Embassy, have been organising the joint annual visits. Until now, five such meetings took place with all partners setting a scene for cooperation. These meetings focus on joint research topics and promote joint research teams. They are also used to confirm the interest of all participant in continuing the cooperation and to meet the “old friends”.

face masques on a table
Beeld: ©A.Murawska

This year, however, is unusual. The Covid-19 epidemic made everybody change their plans, stop for a moment and take time before going back to normal. However, the “new normal” means adopting many safety measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Therefore, this year the annual meeting will be postponed and at the directors’ level will take place virtually. Nevertheless, WUR, PULS, PAS and NVRI want to continue collaboration and work closely to develop it in this difficult times.

This excellent cooperation is even more important now, when the new EU strategies are released, very much linked to the vision of the Dutch Minister of Agriculture when it comes to sustainable agriculture. The Dutch Circular Agriculture idea is science based and the Dutch knowledge and solutions combined with the Polish scientific contribution can lead to successful participation in the EU-funded projects.

The Green Deal call for proposal is due to be published in September. It is the last call for Horizon 2020 programme, with opportunities in several areas of marine and livestock sciences: climate neutral farms, climate neutral food businesses, reducing antimicrobials, reducing food losses and waste, shifting to sustainable healthy diets, biodiversity. This is the great chance to collect joint initiatives and build strong joint proposals by the scientists from the Netherland and from Poland. The members of Polish-Dutch animal science group serve as the contact points for the expressions of interest.

Additionally, this year the Polish-Dutch veterinary scientific cooperation is focused on promoting the established model of involvement to other scientific areas and attracting more scientist of both countries to participate in the initiative. The communication campaigns are launched at WUR, PAS, PULS and NRVI and already have some effects with increased interest in collaboration.

Also, at the end, it is worth complementing the people involved in developing the Polish-Dutch animal sciences cooperation. They are:

  • Hans Spoolder from WUR
  • Cyprian Tomasik from PAS
  • Marcin Pszczoła from PULS and
  • Miroslaw Polak from NVRI.

All members of the group are very enthusiastic, innovative, open and skillful. For the agricultural team of the Embassy it is a pleasure to work together with those experts, as they make it much easier to promote and support such an outstanding collaboration.