At the start of 2018 a strategic partnership agreement was signed by Dick Pouwels, the Chair of the Board of Directors at HAS University of Applied Sciences, and David Llewellyn, Vice Chancellor of Harper Adams University in Newport, Great Britain. In this agreement, they officially recorded their intention of closely collaborating in the course of the coming years. Since then, professors Lenny van Erp (Precision Livestock Farming) and Antien Zuidberg (Design Methods in Food) of HAS University of Applied Sciences have linked up with the English professors Frank Vriesekoop and Mark Rutter at Harper Adams University. The official appointment of these 4 visiting professors gives solid form to the strategic partnership. In this interview Antien and Lenny talk about their role as visiting professors and about the future research collaboration with Harper Adams.
We have been working closely with Harper Adams University since 2018. How can we see this happening at HAS University of Applied Sciences?
Lenny: “The Business Management in Agriculture & Food study programme is already working together with Harper Adams University, for instance by student exchanges during field trips.” Antien: “And our students from the Food Innovation study programm can go to Harper Adams for internships.” Lenny: “Via our Linking pin Theo Clermonts, both HAS University of Applied Sciences and Harper Adams University intend to extend this next academic year by also exchanging lecturers. In addition we are going to Harper in order to give research and guest lectures and Mark and Frank will visit us more often too. In May, Antien and I went to Harper to get to know Mark and Frank better and to discuss how to put our collaboration into practice.”
How do you view your role as visiting professors?
Lenny: “A visiting professor is a lecturer who travels to a partner university to give guest lectures and to undertake research.” Antien: “We also try to act as ambassadors for our institution, aiming to make connections between people.” Lenny: “We want to take part in the Master of Research (MRS) study programme. This master’s programme, focussed on research, is now only offered at Harper Adams. The idea is that our students will also be able to transfer there. The students will first have to follow the basic lectures such as statistics at Harper Adams. After this, 10 months are available for research, either here at the HAS or in England at Harper Adams. The visiting professors from both institutions will be able to supervise this. It will be a master programme with plenty of enjoyable, practical assignments involving both livestock and technology, as well as subjects within food and sustainability.”
What other concrete plans do you have related to livestock and food?
Lenny: “In addition to the collaboration on the Master of Research, Mark Rutter and I are going to write a scientific article together and we intend to train a doctoral candidate. Mark will be the PhD supervisor and I will be the co-supervisor. A doctoral candidate is someone who has already completed a Master’s programme and is going to undertake 4 years of research to attain the title of Doctor (PhD). Various other student projects such as undergraduate theses can also be connected to this. These projects will be carried out both here and in England. HAS University of Applied Sciences has 2 practical training dairy farms and Harper Adams University has its own innovative dairy unit. Various sorts of technology are used in all three of these locations, such as sensors for the cows to indicate where they are and how active they are. By doing research together, we can combine our data. This is also directly related to the Precision Livestock Farming lectureship.”
Antien: “Frank and I have a number of ideas on how we could carry out research in the Food area. I will contribute my expertise in the field of design, consumer research and 3D food printing and Frank will add his more wide-ranging knowledge about subjects such as fermentation, plant-based meat substitutes and even cultured meat.”
When can we expect a visit from Mark Rutter and Frank Vriesekoop?
Antien: “We are going to visit each other to give guest lectures. For instance, Frank Vriesekoop is going to give a course in Brewing Technology in September and Mark Rutter will be coming to HAS in the autumn to give several guest lectures, including The Social Behaviour of Cows. In the autumn I would like to give lectures in England on Food Concept Development and in the spring, Lenny will be giving a guest lecture on Precision Livestock Farming, focussing on pigs and chickens.”