Scientific Tours

Guided visits to behavioral research facilities
in and around Wageningen

The conference program offered the unique opportunity to visit some of the premier research facilities in and around Wageningen.

  • Experimental Zoology Group (Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University)
    The Experimental Zoology group applies mechanical principles to understand the architecture and functions (in particular locomotion) of animals. The tour will give an overview of a selection of ongoing projects on fish swimming and bone remodelling. Among the techniques that will be demonstrated are high-speed video analysis, digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyse the body motions and the related flow around swimming fish. For more information see:
  • Laboratory of Entomology (Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University)
    One of the research themes of this Laboratory is chemical ecology of insects, directed at understanding how chemical cues are exploited by insects to find their food source. This includes herbivorous insects, carnivorous insects that prey on herbivores, and haematophagous insects. Examples are malaria mosquitoes that exploit human odours, parasitic wasps that exploit their host's pheromones or SOS-odours from plants and butterflies or beetles that exploit plant odours. The research extends from production of the chemicals, through an analysis of their perception by the insects towards the behavioural responses. The equipment used for this includes windtunnels, olfactometers and electrophysiological and neurobiological setups. The equipment is used on the one hand for assessing the active components from complex mixtures of compounds and on the other for gaining knowledge in understanding the biology of chemical information exploitation by insects. For more information see:
  • Green Dino Virtual Realities
    Green Dino Virtual Realities is the Dutch specialist in Intelligent Instruction Systems for training and education. We started in 1992 as a spin-off from Wageningen University. Through research and development Green Dino offers state of the art technology, tailored to the client's needs and tested for validity. This research is done in cooperation with Delft University and Twente University. We develop the Dutch Driving Simulator, a new tool in category B driver education. With the aid of this compact simulator students learn to perform different driving tasks. This is done under supervision of a Virtual Driving Instructor that adapts its instruction to the performance level of the student. The data form automatic registration of events is used to improve the intelligence of the system. The architecture of the driving simulator is generic and can be used for all kinds of procedure training for operators. The automated instruction with a Virtual Instructor is the key for cost effective training! The performance of simulator students is better than students who followed lessons in a car with real instructor. The Dutch Driving Simulator was awarded with the National ICT Award MKB 2004. During the scientific tour we will demonstrate the Dutch Driving Simulator and give insight in the architecture. For more information see:
  • Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
    Bird character, insect learning, global change, and favourite-food foraging to name just a few of the ingredients of the tour at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in Heteren, near Wageningen. The bird Parus major is one of the model species, especially for research on the 'personality' of animals and the ecological consequences thereof. Next to behavioural studies, also the effect of global climate change on ecosystems' food chains are an important research issue. Other species studied are water birds - for which the Netherlands are invaluable as breeding or wintering grounds. How are their interactions with water plants structured, and how does that influence their feeding behaviour? Thirdly, the insects are considered. Their interactions with plant life and each other can not easily be overestimated, as they are influencing the food chain several steps down the line. And then we have not even mentioned the DNA lab, the soil research, and our own FBI (fungal-bacterial interactions). We'll visit one out of NIOO's three ecological centres in the Netherlands - NIOO forms the largest group of fundamental ecologists in the country. For more information see:
  • Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN)
    The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) is specialised in consultancy and research for the maritime industry. The institute was founded in 1932, today it is a company with 250 employees and state-of-the art model test facilities and simulation tools. MARIN executes research and design studies for the offshore industry, ship builders, shipping companies, navies, governments and other companies in the maritime world. MARIN's nautical centre MSCN is executing studies for the design of ports and fairways, set up of maritime operations and the safety of shipping. Furthermore they provide training for pilots and captains of sea going vessels. For this purpose they have two full mission manoeuvring simulators and four part task simulators. Occasionally these simulators are also used to measure the workload of navigators when executing a specific task. During the visit to MARIN the simulators will be demonstrated. For more information see:

  • Numico Research
    Numico Research is the innovative life science organisation of Royal Numico serving among others Nutricia and Milupa. Numico Research focuses on the core activities of the company: Baby Food and Clinical Nutrition. The role of Numico Research is to develop, test and validate hypotheses resulting into new scientific insights, principles and concepts. These will then be transformed into safe and responsible specialized nutritional products. The development of innovative product concepts requires a thorough study and understanding of the mechanisms of action within the involved metabolic pathways. Thus, basic in vitro and in vivo model studies are being complemented with clinical efficacy and safety studies. Over 60 bio test systems are used at molecular, cell and tissue level in combination with clinical trials in a world-wide-network. Numico Research has an extensive range of laboratories and a pilot plant. Activities are:
    - Discovery of new ingredients and product opportunities
    - Identification of new biological activities and health benefits
    - Pre-clinical research
    For more information see:
  • Agrotechnology & Food Innovations
    A&F is an applied research institute within Wageningen University and Research Center. The department of Consumer & Market Insight studies eating and drinking behavior of humans and the factors that influence this behavior. The department participates in the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences. During the lab tour, we show our sensory/physiological facilities where sensory measurements are performed simultaneously with physiological measurements. In addition, we will show our instrumentation to gain insight into processes as they occur in the mouth during oral processing of foods. Finally, we will present our plans for the new research facilities (opening no later than December 2005), in which we aim at establishing an interactive future-oriented research centre where factors underlying food choice and eating and drinking behavior are investigated. The factors are studied in a behavioural context, which ensures validity larger than is usually encountered in many current research paradigms. The facilities will be housed in a new research centre, which will include a restaurant equipped with video surveillance and possibilities to simulate different environments and excellent sensory and physiology laboratories. The centre is set up with different partners and will operate on a 'facility-sharing' basis with its research partners. For more information see see:
  • Experience Lab, Noldus Information Technology BV
    Noldus Information Technology develops innovative software tools and integrated solutions for behavioral research. In our new office building we have constructed a state-of-the-art Experience Lab, equipped with the latest computer and digital video technology. The lab has been designed for human-computer interaction studies, multimodal user experience research, focus groups, and usability testing of hardware and software. The Experience Lab includes a user room and observation room, separated by a one-way screen, and a conference room. By unobtrusively watching and recording user behavior, we can measure the usability of product prototypes from a user's point of view. The user room can easily be converted from an office environment into a living room, thus allowing us to evaluate a large variety of applications and devices in various environments. Endpoints of usability tests assess the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments (ISO 9241). During the tour you will see demonstrations of remotely controlled and IP-based video cameras, multi-channel video and audio recording, digital screen capture, event logging and multimodal data integration. The facility is used by our internal Research & Development department, but is also available for rent. Come over and have a look inside the place where the next generation of The Observer, EthoVision and other applications are tested and improved. For more information:

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