Credit: Foto: Flip Franssen

Dairy multinational FrieslandCampina finances ‘independent’ science, but only if it leads to increased milk production

By Tim Luimes, Remy Käller, Irene van den Berg, | 28 May, 2021

FrieslandCampina is the largest private funder of dairy science at Wageningen University & Research, the world’s top agricultural university, based in the Netherlands. The dairy multinational wants to maintain growth and mainly supports science that serves that goal. Meanwhile, research into sustainable alternatives has trouble getting financed.

 The Investigative Desk looked at the close ties between the company and the university and found that FrieslandCampina dominates Dutch dairy science. The multinational finances research into sustainability issues, but only if that research focuses on technical solutions which do not affect production growth.

Scientists who want to research alternatives to the growth-focused dairy system are struggling to get their work funded. ‘Each time you develop an idea that is not directly interesting for the industry, it’s incredibly hard to get funding.’

Read the full story in Vrij Nederland (in Dutch).

This article is part two of a series on corporate influence at Wageningen University & Research. The previous part on Unilever showed how companies are influencing ‘public-private’ science from start to finish. Multinationals like Unilever and FrieslandCampina not only decide on which projects they finance themselves, but they also decide who will receive government research subsidies.

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