Professor Rik Eweg will launch a new professorship in ‘Regional Transitions to Circular Agriculture’ in January 2021. Eweg, who works at VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL), conducts important applied research into the transition of the agricultural system for the circular economy. Students, researchers, agricultural businesses and other stakeholders will cooperate in Living Labs (constantly evolving field laboratories) in regional projects focussed on developing a circular agricultural system. The goal is to learn and innovate together to achieve an economically, ecologically and socially responsible food system of production, processing, trade and consumption.
“The transition to a circular agricultural system in which farming families are ensured a fair income is a responsibility of the entire supply chain,” says Rik Eweg. “Circular agriculture offers an answer to the challenges of the agriculture sector. These challenges include reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and nitrogen compounds, the restoration of biodiversity, and improving water quality and availability. Circular agriculture requires new business, earning and organisational models and rules; in other words a complete system change. Such far-reaching change will affect the entire supply chain from farmer to consumer. The new professorship in ‘Regional Transitions to Circular Agriculture’ will develop, implement and monitor processes and methods that contribute to this transition.”
The professorship is affiliated with field stations designated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries in the Achterhoek, Twente and the Northern Netherlands. These field stations will establish Living Labs where new knowledge can be developed together with the partners by experimenting, exchanging insights between the Northern and Eastern Netherlands, and by learning from the projects. The opportunities, benefits and indicators that these labs generate will be studied together with the business community. The professorship will cooperate closely with various agricultural vocational training centres such as Terra and Zone College, and with various government agencies to formulate policy recommendations and provide insight into regulatory bottlenecks.
The professorship is co-funded through the Circular Agriculture funding scheme of the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries. The funding scheme was established to foster stronger ties between universities of applied sciences and other knowledge institutions in the field of circular agriculture and so strengthen research and innovation in this field and ensure that more skilled agricultural scientists and other experts are trained.