Vision and Mission

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The Graduate School is named after professor C.T. de Wit, the founding father of the Systems Approach in Wageningen, and was established in 1993. The central mission of the Graduate School PE&RC is:

Understanding the functioning of natural and managed ecosystems to improve the quality of life.

This mission can be viewed from a local, regional and global perspective, considering bio-/geo-physical and socio-economic objectives and constraints. The research within PE&RC ranges from intensive agricultural production systems (e.g., glasshouses) to extensive semi‑natural and natural production systems (e.g., agroforests, wetlands, savannas and protected areas). Production refers to products as well as services (e.g., recreation, biodiversity).

Bio- and geosciences are corner stones of (agro-)ecosystem research in PE&RC, but communication and collaboration with social sciences are essential for the design and development of sustainable and multifunctional land use systems.

The main tasks of PE&RC are:

  • To develop and coordinate education and training of PhD candidates;
  • To improve and safeguard the quality of academic research (PhD candidates, postdocs, and academic staff);
  • To stimulate the development of a coherent academic research programme and to act as a national platform within its area
  • To establish international collaboration with similar organizations in its research area with exchange programmes for staff and PhD candidates, a portfolio of international postgraduate courses and the development of international curricula.

The ambition of PE&RC is to be at the international forefront of the scientific field it operates in, tackling both cutting-edge fundamental and societal relevant research and PhD training. This involves research on sustainable production, biodiversity and ecosystem services, (evolutionary) developments and constraints of (agro-)ecosystems, the bio-based economy and multifunctional land use, addressing various global crises, such as those on food security, climate and biodiversity. PE&RC provides a stimulating and interactive platform for scientists and PhD candidates to communicate.

PE&RC facilitates the training of PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows by organising a wide variety of activities such as postgraduate courses, seminars, discussion groups, theme days and annual meetings.

In 2015, an external evaluation panel performed an assessment of PE&RC as a whole and of most of its participating groups within Wageningen University, according to standard evaluation protocol (SEP) for public research organisations in the Netherlands. They assessed the research to be of very good to excellent quality and the PhD training and Education Programme as world leading. Furthermore, they noticed that the Graduate School provides an excellent platform for effective collaborations of the groups of the school and associated groups.