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Coffee with Dick Heederik

Before January made way for February, we took one last opportunity to talk about New Year’s resolutions and the challenges facing us in the coming year. Dick Heederik, Chairman of the Executive Board of the NCOH, sees many such challenges in the near future. “It’s going to be an exciting period. At the level of the four Strategic Research Themes, we will first have to initiate cooperation between the various institutes. We have to build stronger ties between partners”.

According to Dick, 2017 will be the year in which we will have to start up several new activities within the NCOH. “I believe that we will have to start making investments. NCOH was founded last year and immediately began to grow with several new partners. That required us to make new administrative agreements. This means that funds have been invested by the organisations, and we can draw up ambitious plans to implement with new research trainee projects. Good news for us researchers! For example, we’ve made a good start on the topic of ‘Metagenomics’, which will have to be elaborated on within the research trainee plans. But that is of course a modest beginning. NCOH should be used as a vehicle for attracting projects through cooperation.

An initiative like the research trainee plan should therefore be connected to the broader plans as part of the Strategic Research Themes. “Which research do we want to conduct, how can the projects become more effective, and which resources can we attract? That is the challenge, and that is where I see the biggest opportunities. NCOH-AMR already has that largely in order as it started earlier. I myself am closely involved in the VGO (Veehouderij en Gezondheid Omwonenden) study. This study began before the NCOH, but it is our intention to expand it together with Wageningen UR and Erasmus MC as part of NCOH-SHF.

Human health, veterinary medicine, and the environment are the three priority areas in which we work. If our research can help improve the welfare of humans and animals , under the right conditions and in line with health and the environment, then I believe that we’ll have a great year!”, according to an enthusiastic Dick Heederik.

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