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CropXR Learning Community : mutual learning

On May 15, the Learning Community of CropXR met in Amsterdam. It was a special day that gave students, teacher-researchers, breeders and academics the opportunity to learn from and with each other.

Start of the Program

Managing Director of CropXR Hedwich Teunissen started the program with an introduction of CropXR. She also informed all those present about the current state of affairs of CropXR. As the community is constantly expanding and developing, it is important to keep each other up to date. Thanks to Hedwich’s story, the students also learned more about CropXR’s mission strategies.

Assistant Professor and Coordinator Koen Beumer then introduced the role of the social sciences within CropXR. His talk inspired all those present. He raised thought-provoking questions such as: What will be society’s view on CropXR, and how can society best be involved? Using new technologies from the recent past as examples, such as wind turbines, Beumer explained the complex relationship between technology and society. This part of his talk immediately evoked further debate. Representatives of the companies wondered how they should deal with the public image of greenhouse horticulture and monoculture. As this topic is contested, it is important to position CropXR in the right way.

Marking this topic on the agenda of CropXR in this early phase is necessary. The timely involvement of the right stakeholders is crucial to handle it in the right manner. Furthermore, the internal conversation about this matter should proceed. The management team, Koen Beumer’s team and the communications advisor of CropXR are good sparring partners to reflect on such sensitive issues. From Koen Beumer’s team, four PhD researchers have already started researching related issues. They study them from a systematic, ethical, legal and social perspective. The insights they will gain in the upcoming time will be useful to further fuel our internal conversations and reflections.  

The afternoon

In the afternoon, the group was split into two break-out sessions. PhD researchers from the team of Koen Beumer, Aisha So and Elsenoor Wijlhuizen, gave the students a “poster pitching” workshop. For many students, this was the first time learning this craft. The English language turned out to be an additional new element for some. Our own PhDs candidates training our students turned out to be an actual community effort!

The program also included a conversation about the CropXR community itself. Teachers, researchers and breeders discussed questions such as: What is going well? What can we do better? And what should our community ideally look like?

Several topics and follow-up actions emerged from this conversation. For example, in the coming period we will try to better connect the scientists of the applied research. We will also work on long-term research lines for different traits and crops. In this way, the Universities of Applied Sciences will be empowered and be able to make a valuable contribution to the mission of CropXR.

Closing of the day

During the final part of the Learning Community Day, the student presented their poster pitches to the entire group. At the end of the day there were drinks. This proved to be an opportunity to network. Moreover, the exchange between certain parties was clearly valuable.

There is a lot of enthusiasm within the Learning Community and it will continue with a lot of energy. We look forward to seeing everyone again on November 15 for the fall edition of the Learning Community event!

Learning Community: interested in submitting a project or receiving more info?

Send an email to Atoesa Farokhi, coordinator Learning Community CropXR [] or Milan Plasmeijer, teacher/reacher InHolland []. Or find them on Slack!