Wageningen University is to to head the development of a new food and agriculture research centre east of Beijing, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.
Wageningen’s chancellor Arthur Mol, who was part of the recent Dutch trade mission to China, told the paper the university was not investing any money in the €1bn project, but it would supply a great deal of knowledge.
The research centre will house academic institutions and the business community who will work together to make Chinese agriculture more productive and to tackle environmental issues. The aim is to create China’s leading R&D centre in the field of agriculture and food.
Mol said Dutch companies are also welcome to play a role in developments. The mayor of Beijing will come to Wageningen in October to discuss further details.
In January Groningen University dropped plans to open a campus in Yantai, China, citing a lack of support for the plan. Some staff and students were worried about the academic independence of the Chinese campus.
Wageningen has close ties with a number of Chinese institutions and already has an office in Beijing. The University is also involved in a joint venture with China to improve standards in the dairy industry.
Chinese students, both MSc and PhD, make up 10% of the Wageningen students population and the trend is set to continue, the university says on its website.