PE&RC Day 2019

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PE&RC Day 2019

Exploring Sustainability: Now and for the future

Thursday 17 October 2019

Forum building, room C222, Wageningen Campus

Annual symposium organized by the PE&RC PhD Council (PPC) for all PE&RC members


Everywhere we go, people are talking about sustainability. But as the use of this term spreads its meaning has become increasingly misused. True sustainability is achieved when the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and guarantee a development which can support itself and meet future needs indefinitely. Environment, economy and society are the three main pillars of sustainability but unfortunately societal and economical welfare are often prioritized over the environment. During the PE&RC day 2019, we aim to put the environment in the spotlight and discuss its pivotal role in supporting societal and economic demands. We will guide you through an interdisciplinary journey to discover what makes biological systems sustainable and how they can serve as inspiration for efficient use of resources. Furthermore, we will explore how to integrate different aspects of sustainability and the recent scientific advancements in anthropogenic systems. We will do this, by highlighting research with a direct or indirect focus on sustainability, performed by members of PE&RC. There will be a particular focus on multi- and interdisciplinary research, with the aim to explore and discuss sustainability - Now and for the future.


PE&RC Call for Institutional Collaboration
Call for institutional collaboration 2019_3.png Like last year, PE&RC has set up a call to stimulate collaboration between Wageningen University and the other PE&RC institutes via short joint PhD and/or postdoc projects (more information about the call here). Through this call, short collaborative projects of a few months can be funded. The interesting thing about this call is that the projects that are ultimately funded, are selected by the PE&RC community. After evaluation a selection of applicants will be selected to present their proposal in a 3-minute pitch during a plenary session of the PE&RC Day. Accordingly, the audience of the PE&RC Day will be allowed to vote for their favourite projects. The three most favoured projects, as determined by the audience, will receive the funding (up to 4 month PhD salary / 3 month postdoc salary, or equivalent combinations of these). So if you want to be part of this truly bottom-up driven selection of exciting projects that will stimulate institutional collaboration between PE&RC partner institutes, join the PE&RC Day and cast your vote! Submission deadline is expired!
PE&RC Picture Award
Picture Competition - PE&RC Day 2019.png Based on the great success of previous PE&RC day editions we decided to again organise a Picture Award competition for our PhD community! To give everyone a chance to win, we divided the competition into three categories: 1) thesis cover, 2) fieldwork, 3) labwork & modelling. So take this opportunity and submit a beautiful/meaningful/weird/tear-jerking picture of your PhD work. Show us what you’ve got! You can now submit your pictures for the competition here. This is also the place to find all the relevant details about the competition. Submission deadline is expired!
Transportation to and from Wageningen University Campus

For PE&RC members travelling from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden or Nijmegen to Wageningen, travel costs will be reimbursed (offered only to those joining the full day, including dinner).


There will not be complete printed booklets during the PE&RC Day. The complete booklet can be downloaded here.

09:00 - 09:30 Registration & Coffee / Tea  
09:30 - 09:45 Welcome word by the PE&RC PhD Council (PPC) and by the Chair of the Day
Naomi Zweerus MSc, PhD candidate @ University of Amsterdam / Chair of the PE&RC PhD Council
Prof. Bas Zwaan, Professor of Genetics @ Wageningen University / Scientific Director of the Graduate School PE&RC
09:45 - 10:15 Biodiversity, ecosystem services and environmental policy – An economist’s perspective
Dr Jetske Bouma, Senior researcher Environmental Economics @ PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) widely promoted the framework of ecosystem services as a useful conceptualization of the societal value of biodiversity. Since then, both researchers and policy-makers have been struggling with the concept and it’s implications for policy. This presentation will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the concept of ecosystem services, with illustrations from the current policy debate in the Netherlands on agricultural policy. In addition, the presentation will reflect on some of the difficulties of collaborating between disciplines, most specifically between ecologists and economists. For this, Jetske will use her experiences in the editing of the Cambridge University Press book ‘Ecosystem services: from concept to Practice’.
10:15 - 10:45 One Health - a sustainable approach to tackle vector-borne diseases?
Sander Koenraadt, Associate Professor Medical & Veterinary Entomology @ Wageningen University
Quite regularly, one can read a newsfeed about a novel malaria vaccine, a breakthrough in malaria drug development, or a new way to kill those pesky mosquitoes that transmit the disease. Often the focus is on the development of technical solutions that preferably are ‘silver bullets’ and thus protect large populations from disease. But to what extent can these new tools live up to the expectations? Are today’s solutions not tomorrow’s problems? In this talk, I will use examples from my own research on disease transmitting insects and present ideas for how a One Health research agenda could look like.
10:45 - 11:15 Coffee / Tea break (registration aisle)  
11:15 - 11:45 Pyrogeography: the need for diversity
Dr Cathelijne Stoof, Assistant Professor Pyrography @ Wageningen University
2018 was a glimpse of the future: deadly mega-fires in Mediterranean and numerous wildfires in temperate and boreal regions. Traditional mono-disciplinary attitudes cannot solve this challenge: there is a critical need to change management paradigms from fire resistance to landscape resilience: Living with Fire. The key to Living with Fire is embracing diversity in all its aspects, to prevent people from reinventing the wheel and instead allow learning from others through collaboration: across disciplines, sectors and geographies, and including social diversity. In this talk, I will discuss landscape fire challenges in NW and Southern Europe and discuss how we hope to shift the fire suppression paradigm with our new PyroLife project, the first doctoral training programme on integrated fire management worldwide.
11:45 - 12:30 Pitch session - PE&RC Call for Institutional Collaboration  
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch (registration aisle) - (Photo voting closes at 13:30)  
13:30 - 14:00 A perspective on modelling water quality in connected systems
Prof. Wolf Mooij, Professor in Aquatic Ecology @ Netherlands Institute of Ecology
Food production for a growing world population relies on application of fertilisers and pesticides on agricultural lands. However, these substances threaten surface water quality and thereby endanger valued ecosystem services such as drinking water supply, food production and recreational water use. Such deleterious effects do not merely arise on the local scale, but also on the regional scale through transport of substances as well as energy and biota across the catchment. Here we argue that aquatic ecosystem models can provide a process-based understanding of how these transports by water and organisms as vectors affect – and are affected by – ecosystem state and functioning in networks of connected lakes. Such a catchment scale approach is key to setting critical limits for the release of substances by agricultural practices and other human pressures on aquatic ecosystems. Thereby, water and food production and the trade-offs between them may be managed more sustainably.
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14:00 - 14:30 A transdisciplinary approach to empower women food entrepreneurs in Kenya and Burkina Faso
Dr Boris Jansen, Associate Professor in Soil Chemistry @ University of Amsterdam
In this presentation I will highlight how we use transdisciplinary research to address the complex challenges related to the challenges of sustainability. For this I will present results of an ongoing transdisciplinary research project that we are carrying out in a team of natural scientists, social scientists and local stakeholders. The aim of this project is to strengthen women’s food entrepreneurship in city slums in Kenya & Burkina Faso, based on an integrated understanding of the complex interactions between soil quality, food production and quality for vulnerable groups.
14:30 - 15:00 Coffee / Tea break   
15:00 - 15:30 Exploring sustainability of forest resource use
Dr Marijke van Kuijk, Assistant professor in Tropical Forest Ecology @ Utrecht University
People living in South Suriname depend in their daily life on the products that the forest offers. They hunt for meat, they gather fruits, seeds and other food, and the forest provides them with construction materials and medicine. It is often assumed that the use of these products for subsistence is sustainable, but is it really? Which consequences does the constant extraction of resources have on plant and animal communities? And what are the impacts if inhabitants of a village increase resource extraction of a certain product for economic development? We are exploring the sustainability of the use several forest resources in South Suriname. In all projects, we do this in close collaboration with indigenous peoples, NGOs and other local partners. This way, we optimize knowledge transfer and enable capacity building. This does not only contribute to the sustainable use of forest products, but also to the sustainability of the project itself.
15:30 - 15:40 PE&RC Picture Awards (PE&RC PhD Council)  
15:40 - 16:05 Report from last year's collaboration grant winners and announcement of 2019 winners (Bas Zwaan, scientific director of PE&RC)  
16:05 - 16:20 Closing remarks (Bas Zwaan, scientific director of PE&RC)  
17:15 - 18:00 Discussion session & Drinks (registration aisle)  
18:00 - 20:00 Dinner (Grand Cafe - ground floor in Forum building)  
General information
Target Group The annual PE&RC day is meant for all PE&RC PhDs, postdocs and staff members, but non-PE&RC members are also warmly welcomed!
Event duration 1 day
Number of credits 0.3 ECTS
Location Room C222 (Forum building), Wageningen Campus, Droevendaalsesteeg 2, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
Transportation For PE&RC members travelling from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden or Nijmegen to Wageningen, travel costs will be reimbursed (only for those joining the full day, including dinner)
Fees 1
PE&RC members Free of Charge € 25,-
All others € 25,- € 50,-

1 The course fee includes a programme, coffee/tea, lunch, and drinks


  • Payment: payment information will follow in the confirmation mail.
  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • Please make sure that your payment, if applicable, is arranged within two weeks after your registration, or indicate in the registration form that you will pay in cash on the day itself.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that he/she (or his/her secretary) completes the payment correctly and in time.
PE&RC Cancellation Conditions
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the event, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 1 (one) week prior to the start of the event, a fee of € 10,- will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within one week prior to the start of the event, a fee of € 25,- will be charged.
  • If you do not show at all without informing us prior to the event, a fee of € 50,- will nevertheless be charged.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions)


The annual PE&RC Day is organised by the PE&RC PhD Council (PPC), with the assistance of Claudius van de Vijver, Lennart Suselbeek, and Amber Heijboer (PE&RC). More details about the PPC can be found here.

More information

Jacqueline Verhoef  (PE&RC)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485414


To register, please enter your details below and click "Register".


Note that when you decide to join the entire day, including the dinner, you are eligible to join transport to Wageningen Campus (if arranged) or to receive a financial compensation for your travel to Wageningen (for those residing outside Wageningen). Hence, the question about joining the bus only appears in the registration form when you indicate that you will join the dinner.