Dutch Dairy Challenge

Of course, the idea must also be of financial value to the dairy farmer.

The alliance Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Utrecht University (UU) and Utrecht University Medical Centre (UMC Utrecht) will work together with various partners from the government and industry in the Dutch Dairy Challenge in the coming years. The ambition is to link students from the four institutions to dairy farms throughout the Netherlands and to work with the farmers on innovations in this sector.

What did the collaboration entail?

'How will we ensure that we still keep and love cows in 2050?' That question was central to the pilot edition of the Dutch Dairy Challenge in the region of North Limburg/East Brabant. Nine dairy farmers and their teams took part in the 100-day innovation programme and presented their plans in the context of 'Keeping cows in 2050' to the jury during the final on 13 July. During the course, students were able to bring an innovative idea of a dairy farmer to reality. Veterinary students joined these teams together with students from Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and HAS University of Applied Sciences. 

Purpose of collaboration in education

In interdisciplinary teams and in close cooperation with the business community, they set to work on the question: 'How are we going to make sure that in 2050 we still keep and love cows? The Utrecht Veterinary Science students added an academic perspective while learning about innovation, design thinking and their possible impact on a farm. Students are given the opportunity to think along with dairy farmers about the future of dairy farming in the Netherlands. By working on solutions, students already create impact during their studies and acquire skills that will be useful later on. There are great connections with the degree programmes in Animal Sciences at WUR and Veterinary Medicine at UU. With the technological innovations from Innovation Space at TU/e and the contributions to health from Medicine at UMCU, we can also make unexpected connections. And of course, this challenge can also be extremely instructive for all other disciplines. 

From broadening the current earnings model to truly innovative cross-sector plans. We also saw various ideas that contribute to solutions for emission and nitrogen problems and ambitions to build the bridge between farmers and citizens.

Erwin Koldewey at Courage

(Intended) result

To work on sustainable solutions for the future of dairy farming in the Netherlands under the motto 'Keeping and loving cows in 2050'.

Under the motto 'Keeping and loving cows in 2050', the teams worked on sustainable solutions for the future of dairy farming in the Netherlands. In the run-up to the finals, on 13 July, all dairy farmers had made a video about their idea. Then, one by one, they were allowed to go on stage to answer the jury's questions. The jury was impressed by all the personal, passionate and authentic stories. The jury chose dairy farmer Kees Peeters from Kessel as the winner with his idea 'better milk with hay'. Peeters aims to improve the health and therefore the longevity of his cows by feeding them hay from his own land.

Collaborating party on behalf of UU

Alliance EWUU. Open to all Bachelor and Master students.

Collaborating external party

  • Imagro 
  • Rabobank 
  • Friesland Campina 
  • Courage 
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

Do you want to know more?

Want to know more about the Dutch Dairy Challenge? 

Click here (Dutch)