Biorefinery Engineering – A new Master Program at Graz University of Technology

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Renewable and sustainable material and energy production has become a top priority in Europe and is Horizon 2020’s most prominent theme. Research into novel biorefinery pathways, required to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint is an urgent and critical need, which is reliant upon a flow of newly qualified persons in areas as diverse as biorefinery engineering, new energy materials and methods, renewable materials value chain management and many more.
Biorefinery technologies are particularly important in this respect as they are the backbone of several important European policies, from the IEA Biorefinery Task 42, the European Bioeconomy Strategy and the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Roadmap (SET-Plan) to the European Food Safety and Nutrition Policy. European development in this prioritized field is slow due to a lack of qualified personnel, a lack of cohesion and integration among stakeholders, and poor linkage between training and industry needs.

To address these challenges, the Horizon2020 project “BioEnergyTrain (BET)” brings together fifteen academic and industrial partners from six EU countries. The target of the project is to create jointly two new master level curricula (MSc) in key areas identified by the SET-Plan where expertise on the
post-graduate level is urgently needed within the field of bioeconomy development: “Biorefinery
Engineering (BRE)”, and “Bioresource Value Chain Management (BVCM)”. The master program “Biorefinery Engineering” will be implemented at Graz University of Technology (Austria) and the program “Bioresource Value Chain Management” at the University of Twente (Netherlands). Both master programs will start in the winter semester 2017/18. Part of the course content of the two master programs is developed jointly by respective experts from the project partners to assure that only cutting-edge knowledge is taught. These courses will be made available on a web-based repository in the future to enable other higher education institutions to use this material for their teaching purposes.

The BRE-master program at Graz University of Technology will be taught in English and has a strong engineering focus. It comprises the following six modules:
• Biorefinery Engineering Basics
• Chemical and Analytical Aspects of Biorefineries
• Biorefinery Technologies
• Biorefinery and Energy Systems
• Biorefinery Economic, Ecological and Social Aspects
• Practical Coursework

The module “Practical Coursework” has the target to integrate student exposure to industry in the curriculum in order to confront them with real world work environments and problems in the education. The following structured “formats” of cooperative educational initiatives will be developed together with industry partners:
• Interdisciplinary Student Camps
• Pilot Plant Research Labs
• Design case work
• Open summer schools
• Participation in business qualification actions

The BRE-master program will be based directly on the bachelor’s degree program “Environmental Systems Sciences/Natural Sciences-Technology”, which is a degree offered jointly by the University of Graz and Graz University of Technology in the framework of the “NAWI Graz - Natural Sciences Graz” cooperation. Bachelor degree students from other fields of studies will also be admitted, but will have to take additional courses from an adjustment module depending on their field of study. Key lectures from the BRE-curriculum will also be made available as electives in the master program “Process Engineering”.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2016
EventPaper and Biorefinery Conference - Messecenter Graz, Graz, Austria
Duration: 11 May 201612 May 2016


ConferencePaper and Biorefinery Conference


  • Biorefinery

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems
  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Application

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