Seed World

Wageningen University Offers Opportunities for Lifelong Learning

Course participants benefit from capacity development, training and sharing knowledge in innovative technologies of importance to the plant breeding sector.
Lifelong learning is important in our rapidly changing world. Wageningen University & Research has for a long time been recognized as an outstanding place for all kinds of courses in the broad field of plant sciences, plant breeding and seed technology, both within the academic setting as well as for postgraduate and professional courses.

Nowadays there is an increasing need for working professionals active in the life sciences to update and expand their knowledge and further develop their competences. Wageningen offers many possibilities to interested parties. Our many different courses are organised in collaboration between Plant Breeding (BSc, MSc and PhD) and Wageningen Academy (for professionals from industry and government).

Without a doubt, it can be concluded that plant breeding has contributed towards improved food security and nutritional quality all around the world. Upgrading skills and knowledge of new developments and cutting-edge science among plant breeders, phytopathologists, seed technologists and other researchers has been one of the most important missions of Wageningen UR Plant Breeding for the last three decades.

Capacity development covers several themes in plant science, plant breeding and plant biotechnology and is designed to meet current market development for both public and private sectors. This includes short courses, refresher courses, summer schools, tailor-made courses and now online courses as well. Such courses are either implemented at Wageningen or in specific countries or regions like South America, East Africa, China and Southeast Asia. Next to providing the theoretical knowledge, Plant Breeding and Wageningen Academy offer the possibility for providing technical backstopping and consultancy that contribute towards optimizing the value chain of our food crops.

With the Netherlands being a recognise worldwide leader in innovative scientific research in plant science, plant breeding and seed technology and the world’s second-largest exporter of seeds and planting materials, it is logical to extend the training to this field of study. This starts with motivated BSc students to whom we offer insight into the world of green genetics with company visits and academic lectures in our yearly Summer School Green Genetics.

Insights in related business fields are also possible for professionals with our open enrolment courses on protected horticulture and postharvest technology for fresh horticulture produce, to give just two examples. All courses provide opportunities to start and maintain your career as part of an international, multidisciplinary research team in the plant breeding and seed technology industry.

The training courses are provided in different modules and with a duration that varies from just a few days up to 12 weeks, depending on the topics and content of each module. In general, the courses provide a broad overview of the recent developments of modern technologies and cover topics related to the novel technologies in plant sciences which contribute to enhancing genetic variability and genetic improvement in food crops, like breeding for biotic and abiotic stress factors; trait discovery; novel approaches and technologies in plant breeding; breeding for improved quality, growth and development; bioinformatics and data analysis; participatory plant breeding; seed maintenance and multiplication; improved breeding technology in ornamentals; insect resistance; efficient design of plant breeding programs; bio-based or circular economy; and the use of molecular tools for accelerating varietal development.

The courses are provided by professional trainers and include lectures, discussion groups, assignments, case studies, lessons learned from local knowledge, practical exercises in both lab and field and ending with developing an action plan that can be implemented by the participants for their favourite crops under their local conditions.

The courses organised by Wageningen Academy in collaboration with Plant Breeding and other chair groups of Wageningen University & Research are specifically designed for professionals and held at their work place or at Wageningen. Those organised by Plant Breeding are mostly executed at universities and research institutes around the world.

Increasingly, Wageningen is looking at blended learning methods where a combination of e-learning modules together with in-company and other more traditional methods are deployed.

Expand Your Knowledge with our International Plant Breeding Course

The international course Plant Breeding 2016-2018 enables professional plant breeders and researchers worldwide to follow an intensive course parallel to their current career. The team of Plant Breeding experts offers you a theoretical background on plant breeding. This is executed in a learning environment with a lot of interaction with people from different countries, working on different crops. 

The focus lies on those subjects that are necessary for the design and management of professional large breeding programmes. Students may be granted exemptions for a future (online) plant breeding course at Wageningen University & Research. 

Past participants of the course shared their joint enthusiasm with us. They mentioned that their critical thinking is improved and that they have new ideas for the breeding programmes that they are working on. Their understanding of the application of techniques and tools for breeding is improved, resulting in a broader view on topics related to and used for breeding. Participants become more confident, self-sufficient breeders, which is a valuable benefit in their daily work and future career. 

“I learn a lot and get inspired by the Wageningen UR team to implement the topics in my daily work,” said Nico Rookmaker of Averis Seeds.

Hans van Doorn of HZPC said, “This course is crucial for breeders with an ambition to innovate their breeding programmes.” 

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