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Masters Degrees (Agrofood)

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The two year MSc programme Biosystems Engineering is for students with an (agricultural) engineering background on bachelor level that are interested to pursue a MSc degree in a field where the interaction between technology and biology plays an important role. Read more

MSc Biosystems Engineering

The two year MSc programme Biosystems Engineering is for students with an (agricultural) engineering background on bachelor level that are interested to pursue a MSc degree in a field where the interaction between technology and biology plays an important role.

Programme summary

During the master Biosystems Engineering, students are educated in finding innovative solutions. The programme combines knowledge of technology, living systems, natural and social sciences with integrated thinking using a systems approach. Solutions can be applied to either the field of food or nonfood agricultural production. During the programme, you develop independence and creativity while acquiring skills that enable you to analyse problems and work as part of an interdisciplinary team. Biosystems Engineering is a tailor-made, thesis oriented programme based on the specific interests and competencies of the student.

Thesis tracks

Farm Technology
This topic consists of four main themes, namely automation for bioproduction, greenhouse technology, livestock technology and soil technology. All these topics have the shared goal of designing systems in which technology is applied to the demands of plants, animals, humans and the environment. Examples of such applications include precision agriculture, conservation tillage, fully automated greenhouses and environmentally friendly animal husbandry systems that also promote animal welfare.

Systems and Control
Production processes and various kinds of machinery have to be optimised to run as efficiently as possible; and with the least amount of possible environmental impact. To achieve this, computer models and simulations are developed and improved. Examples include designing control systems for a solar-powered greenhouse to include a closed water cycle and designing a tomato-harvesting robot.

Information Technology
Information and communication play a vital role in our society. It is necessary to acquire, use and store data and information to optimise production processes and quality in production chains. This requires the design and management of business information systems, software engineering, designing databases and modelling and simulation.

Environmental Technology
Environmental technology revolves around closing cycles and reusing waste products and by-products. Processes have to be designed in such a way that they either reuse waste or separate it into distinct and reusable components. Examples include the production of compost, the generation of green energy or the design of environmentally friendly animal husbandry systems and greenhouses.

AgroLogistics
The goals of agrologistics are to get the right product in the right quantity and quality at the right time and to the right place as efficiently as possible while fulfilling the requirements of the stakeholders (such as government legislation and regulations). This requires the design of effective, innovative logistics concepts in agrifood chains and networks. Examples are the design of greenhouses developed for optimal logistics or designing a dairy production process with minimal storage costs.

Biobased Technology
The importance of biobased economy is increasing. Energy savings and the use of renewable energy are directions for achieving an environmentally sustainable industrial society. Biomass of plants, organisms and biomass available can be turned into a spectrum of marketable products and energy. In this track, you learn more about process engineering, biological recycling technology, biorefinery and how to abstract a real system into a physical model and analyse the physical model using dedicated software.

Your future career

Most graduates are employed in the agrofood sector, or related sectors of industry and trade, from local to international companies. They are project leaders, product managers, technical experts, sales specialists or managers at many kinds of companies including designers of agricultural buildings (animal husbandry systems, greenhouses) and bioenergy production systems. Others find jobs with IT companies (climate control computers, automated information systems) or firms in the agro-food chain that produce, store, process, distribute and market agricultural products. In the service sector or at governments, graduates enter careers as consultants, information officers or policymakers in the fields of technology and sustainable agricultural production, while others enter research careers at institutes or universities.

Alumnus Patrick Honcoop.
"I am working as a product manager at 365 FarmNet in Germany. 365FarmNet supports farmers to manage their whole agrarian holding with just one software application. I am responsible for the content of the software. I am the link between the farmers, the agrarian holdings and the software developers. I really enjoy these dynamics and variety within my function. Just like during my studies, when we visited farmers, companies and fairs during courses and excursions organised by the study association."

Related programmes:
MSc Animal Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Geo-information Science
MSc Geographical Information Management and Applications
MSc Organic Agriculture

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The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. Read more

The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. This is achived by integrating plant biotechnology and agrofood technology within course content in order to deal with the challenges of innovation in agriculture.

With such an integrated approach, the Master B2AS represents a meeting point between academia and professionals. During the program, students may specialize either in the field of plant biology, biotechnology, plant breeding, genetics, plant and human health benefits, food production and innovation. The wide partner network provides students with a range of complementary expertise. This means that specific competencies are developed within the chosen field of biotechnology and plant breeding for agriculture improvements.

Program structure

Semester 1:

Scientific English (3 ECTS)

  • Students will reinforce and develop the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills relevant to a biological science research context.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the linguistic and discursive features of both written and spoken scientific English.
  • Structure and rhetoric of the research article, writing up an abstract. Oral scientific presentation – students prepare a mini-symposium on the topic related to their future work placement (and thus complete relevant bibliographical and reading research in preparation).
  • Students are evaluated on their communication skills in English and also on their ability to manage complex scientific concepts in English.

Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)

  • Genetic regulation of root and stem apical meristem functioning, epigenetic regulations of plant development and reproduction, parental imprinting, plant hormones, fruit and seed development, sex determination in plants, cellular mechanisms involved in plant organ growth and development.

Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)

  • Metabolism and cell compartmentation: morphodynamic organization of the plant secretory pathway, lipid and protein machineries; membrane transporters in plants and the related methods of study; lipid signaling in plant cells; formation and dynamics of membrane domains; regulation of metabolism and gene expression by sugars in plants. Nature and importance of futile cycles in plants.

Biotechonology (3 ECTS)

  • In vitro culture and applications, plant transformation and applications to crop plants, GMO legislation and traceability, metabolic engineering, GMO and production of antibodies and of molecules of high health value, GMO in the food industry, fungi biotechnology.

Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)

  • Plant-Mollicutes interactions, plant-virus interactions: analysis of plant and virus factors necessary for virus cycle, viroids; RNA interference, plant defence mechanisms against pathogens (fungi, bacteria and virus), breeding of plants resistant to pathogens, biodiversity of plant pathogens, epidemiology of plant pathogen interactions and impact on crop production.

Plant breeding (3 ECTS)

  • Principles of selection and genetic gain, response to selection, germplasm resources, collecting, analysing, classifying, international rules on germplasm resources. Population improvement and cultivar development (breeding for lines, hybrids, clones, populations), high throughput phenotyping, breeding strategies and methods including molecular breeding (MAS, genomic selection) and biotechnologies, multiple traits selection, genotype by environment interaction, protecting varieties and intellectual property, plant breeding international network and organization.

Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)

  • Population genetics and genetic diversity, haplotype structure, domestication and genetic consequences, linkage disequilibrium, genetic variance, estimating variance components, heritability, genetic correlations, association genetics, genomic selection, induced diversity TILLinG, natural diversity ecoTILLinG, linking genetics, genomics and bioinformatics : from fine- mapping to gene cloning; genotyping by sequencing.

Semester 2:

Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS) 

  • In a public laboratory and/or a private company laboratory.

Strengths of this Master program

During their studies, students will:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge in various fields of plant biology, green biotechnology, food supplements, food production, etc.
  • Receive a modern research-based training.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of modern agricultural practices in a context of environmental constraints and increasing demand.
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits and limits of modern biotechnology.
  • Acquire the skills to develop action planning processes for bioscience.
  • Acquire skills and practice within an English-speaking environment as well as other languages practised within the consortium.
  • Develop the necessary skills to collaborate with international teams and networks.
  • Acquire competencies for knowledge transfer to students and collaborators.
  • Develop competencies to create, finance and manage a new start-up.
  • Acquire an understanding of today’s industrial and economic environment within the Biotech sector.

After this Master program?

The objectives of the B2AS program are to prepare students for further study via PhD programs and/or careers in the food and agronomy industry throughout the world. This is achieved by providing high-level training in plant sciences but also by preparing students with relevant knowledge and skills in management and business. 

Graduates may apply for positions in the following industrial sectors in a R&D laboratory as well as in production activities:

  • Plant research laboratories
  • Plant breeding companies
  • Agro-chemical companies
  • Green and white biotechnology companies
  • Food, diet and nutrition companies
  • Plant medicinal production companies
  • Food supplement or nutraceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Business trade companies


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