China Scholarship Council (CSC) has granted Sino-Dutch Doctoral Program on Sustainable Dairy through China Agricultural University (CAU). The University of Groningen and Wageningen University are academic counterparts in The Netherlands. Royal Friesland Campina participates as the industrial partner and the Carbohydrate Competence Centre(CCC) as knowledge partner. The total program grant is 1.9 million euros.
This program will provide 30 scholarships in total: 10 scholarships for Chinese PhD students each year to study the dairy-related issues in the Netherlands and run for 3 years in the first phase (2015-2017). Those students will study all nodal points of the full dairy industry chain, including but not limited to (1) grass, crop, feed production and field nutrients management, (2) dairy breeding, veterinary medicine and husbandry, (3) milk processing and products optimization, (4) food, nutrition and health, (5) waste treatment and nutrients recovery, and (6) full chain analysis and sustainability enhancement.
CCC will coordinate this program, together with the Energy Academy Europe (EAE). Prof. Lubbert Dijkhuizen, CCC Scientific Director, states that “the development and implication of accurate and reliable analytic tools for milk and products derived is crucial for proper evaluation of the quality and safety of dairy products. Such detailed information increasingly is needed to underpin the nutritional value of dairy products and the associated positive health aspects, with emphasis on special groups, e.g. infants and senior people. In recent CCC programs this analytical toolkit has been established and large progress has been made specifically in the detailed analysis of milk oligosaccharides and glycoproteins (variations in composition and in structures). It will be a pleasure to train these young PhD students in the use of such methods, meanwhile carrying out in depth fundamental and innovative research around dairy-related topics.”
André Faaij, EAE Scientific Director, emphasizes the link between dairy, energy and sustainability at large and therefore the importance of this newly set up Doctoral Program. "Food production and dairy as a strongly growing component of that needs to become much more resource efficient to be sustainable. This means major changes in the way food production and dairy chains are managed. And that includes the use of land, feed, recycling of nutrients and processing of manure, e.g. to produce biogas and capture phosphates. In that sense the dairy sector is part of a larger biobased economy and should be understood as a larger system. This warrants innovative research to develop and implement those opportunities in conjunction. The whole systems approach that is typical for the work EAE is developing is very useful for the new program, and we look very much forward to engage in it”.
The program will help in modernizing China’s dairy sector, and adds value to the Dutch dairy sector for knowledge transfer and business development. As the coordinator and one of initiators of this program Wanli Zheng from Energy Academy Europe explains: “We want to use this program to establish a platform for both researchers and industry in these two countries. The Netherlands has a strong infrastructure for bio-based research, while China needs to upgrade and restructure the whole dairy sector with increasing attention to environment and climate change issues.”
Chinese PhD candidates who want to study sustainable dairy issues in the Netherlands will submit their applications to CSC in the end of June. The UG will expect the first PhD student subsidized by this program in September this year.
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