Milk and dairy play an essential part in the lives of an increasing number of people. For babies, there is infant formulae, almost everyone drinks a glass of milk for breakfast or lunch and who doesn’t enjoy a bowl of yoghurt or custard after dinner? 

Due to the growing world population the worldwide demand for milk and dairy also increases, while this international dairy market develops an ever more open and competitive nature. In addition organic products become ever more popular, and consumers and producers attach more and more value to sustainability. Origin and background information on products become an ever more important part in the production process. This offers Dutch dairy companies opportunities to further expand their historically strong positions. Internationally competing and responsible dairy farming demands advanced farming systems meeting the Dutch standards, and a society willing to provide the necessary space. In order to create support, biological and sustainable aspects with which every kind of food industry is confronted these days, must be taken into account. 

Future-proof innovations

Being a green ‘University of Applied Sciences’ these aspects are broadly supported within VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL), both within education and research. Practice-oriented and future-proof are important key concepts within our Applied Research Centre, from which our professorship operates. We conduct practical research for, with and in the professional practice with the involvement of students and lecturers of VHL. Locally and internationally we work on projects that not only helps business to make further progress, but that also creates a world we can pass on to next generations. The professorship Dairy works on future-proof innovations and conducts research for a new generation of professional dairy farmers and farm advisors.

The  professorship DAIRY engages in four lines of research, all under the direction of a professor or associate professor:

  • Sustainable Dairy Farming
  • Herd Management and Smart Dairy Farming
  • Cost-effective Dairy Farming
  • Dairy Value Chains 

Together with an extensive international network within the sector and a wealth of knowledge and experience, our (associate) professors take the research and innovation to the next level. 

About the research lines and (associate) professors

Sustainable Dairy Farming

Within this line of research the Dutch programme of the ‘Sustainable Dairy Chain’ plays a central part. Research is being conducted into the improvement of social involvement, extension of the life span of cows, and more sustainable use of grasslands. 

Professor Wiepk Voskamp-Harkema, PhD MSc 
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel. +31 (0)58 284 64 84 

Herd management and Smart Dairy Farming

Research focuses on improvement of the daily management of dairy farmers by using developments within ICT. Delivering customized service to individual cows ensures efficiency and improves the well-being and health of the cows . Practical value of sensors, translation of data into actions and implementation in the daily practice are being researched. 

Professor Kees Lokhorst, PhD MSc 
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel. +31 (0)317 48 05 92 

Cost Effective Dairy Farming

The economic profitability of dairy farms in different countries is being examined within this new line of research. Price structure of the cost price and costs that go hand in hand with investments in aspects of sustainability gives an insight into the competitive capacity of dairy farms. 

Professor Molly Chen, PhD
Email: [email protected]
Tel. +31 (0)58 284 64 27 

Dairy Value Chains 

This line of research focuses on the improvement of the position of all actors in the production chain. Research into forms of cooperation in various international living labs contributes to more insight into the position of the dairy farm and the chance to apply different business models to create value. 

Associate professor Robert Baars, PhD MSc
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel. +31 (0)26 369 55 02 

Knowledge centre

The professorship is supported by a knowledge network. Research-lecturers take part in the knowledge centre. They are directly or indirectly involved in the design and implementation of research projects and the deployment of the gathered knowledge to education. 

The research centre Dairy consists of: 


  • Gelein Biewenga 
  • Goaitske Iepema 
  • Jan Hania 
  • Stef Groot-Nibbelink
  • Titia Fokkema-vd Ploeg
  • Korry Hoekstra
  • Jan van Delden
  • Casper Zoete
  • Ben Rankenberg
  • Johan Meinderts
  • Resi Oude Luttikhuis
  • Marco Verschuur
  • Martien de Haas
  • Pauline Dorst
  • Jitty Oosterga


  • Bert van der Scheer-VHL/CEO – acquisition
  • Hester Postma-FD- secretariat
  • Harmke Borkent
  • Tamara Wind 
Our projects are co-financed by Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN)