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Masters Degrees (Biorefinery)

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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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Wageningen University is one of the leading centres in Food Science and Technology in Europe and the world. The history of the Food Technology programme at Wageningen University goes back more than 50 years; it is considered to be one of the best and most innovative programmes in its field in Europe. Read more

MSc Food Technology

Wageningen University is one of the leading centres in Food Science and Technology in Europe and the world. The history of the Food Technology programme at Wageningen University goes back more than 50 years; it is considered to be one of the best and most innovative programmes in its field in Europe. The programme focuses on aspects of production, composition and design of food products.

Programme summary

The Food Technology programme at Wageningen University has been in place for more than 50 years and is considered one of the best and most innovative programmes in its field in Europe. Wageningen University offers high-level courses and research in all areas of food science; ranging from advanced technical fields, such as Process Engineering or Chemistry, to fields with a more economic or sociological focus, such as Marketing and Gastronomy.

The Wageningen Food Science faculty is larger than that of any other European university. It includes professors and lecturers from a wide range of departments: Food Chemistry, Food Physics, Food Microbiology, Food Quality and Design, and Food Process Engineering. Food Technology covers nearly all aspects of food science and technology. As a result of being a very broad field, students are required to choose one of the specialisations offered.

Specialisations

Within the programme Food Technology you can choose your own specialisation that meets your personal interests.

Ingredient Functionality
This specialisation focuses on the composition of food, especially, on the role of various components, ingredients or structures in the quality and functionality of the final product. It deals with sensory, nutritive and textural aspects of foods in relation to their components. You major in Food Chemistry or Food Physics.

Product Design
While many new products are launched, not all succeed. This specialisation deals with the design and development of new or improved products. The focus is on the processes used in Food Technology, the design of new products from a consumer perspective and on modelling new product concepts/processes and predictive quality control. You major in Food Process Engineering or Food Quality and Design.

Food Innovation and Management
This specialisation combines courses in Food Technology with courses in Management Studies. It is intended for students who wish to work on product development in small businesses or who plan to start their own business. You will do a thesis in Management Studies and an internship in one of the Food Technology groups.

Food Biotechnology and Biorefining
This specialisation focuses on using micro-organisms or enzymes in food production. During this specialisation, you will learn about processes that can be used for biorefinery or agricultural raw materials. The focus is on biotechnological food production. You major in Food Microbiology, Food Chemistry, Food Process Engineering.

Dairy Science and Technology
This specialisation focuses on the dairy production chain. Its core programme consists of dairy-related courses and several additional courses, such as Food Components and Health, Advanced Fermentation Science and Predicting Food Quality. During the second year, you complete a dairy-related thesis research project and internship.

Sustainable Food Process Engineering
This specialisation focuses on the development of processes that are more efficient in their use of resources. Thesis can be carried out under the supervision of one of the following groups: Food Process Engineering; Operations Research and Logistics; Biobased Chemistry and Technology; or Food Quality and Design.

European Masters Degree in Food Studies
This international specialisation is developed in cooperation with the universities of Cork (Ireland), Lund (Sweden) and Agro-Paris Tech (Paris, France) as well as with ten large industrial partners. For more information see: http://www.eurmscfood.nl.

Gastronomy
This specialisation focuses on the molecular science behind products and dishes used in small scale settings. Scientific insights are used to develop improved food preparation techniques. The cultural aspects of food will also receive attention. You major in Food Chemistry, Food Physics or Rural Sociology.

Sensory Science
This specialisation combines Food Technology with Nutrition and Health. You will work with products and humans in different contexts and study how sensory systems function, how this relates to products and how to analyse these aspects.

Your future career

Graduates find jobs with relative ease, especially in the Netherlands and Western Europe. Recent graduates found positions in the private sector (from small- and medium-sized companies to large multinationals), at Wageningen University or other universities as PhD students, and at research institutes domestically and abroad. Graduates also work in the field of process technology at innovation centres, innovative food companies or government agencies. Most achieve management positions.

Student Harmke Klunder
“It is rich in proteins, unsaturated fats, vitamins and is available in large quantities all over the world. You may conclude, ‘The ideal food ingredient.’ However, would you still think it was ideal if you knew it was made from insects? With three other students, we added insects to a third world food product, thereby winning an international competition from the IFT (Institute of Food Technologists). Malnutrition in Africa could be fought by enriching their daily porridge, sorghumpap, with protein-enhanced termites. As food ingredients technologist, it is possible to look beyond the products found on the shelves of the local supermarkets.”

Related programmes:
MSc Food Quality Management
MSc Food Safety
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Nutrition and Health

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The Plant Biotechnology programme is the combination of different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology) working with a whole new range of techniques and possibilities opened up by modern molecular biology. Read more

MSc Plant Biotechnology

The Plant Biotechnology programme is the combination of different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology) working with a whole new range of techniques and possibilities opened up by modern molecular biology.

Programme summary

Due to rapid technological developments in the genomics, molecular biology and biotechnology, the use of molecular marker technology has accelerated the selection of new plant varieties with many desirable traits. It also facilitates the design, development and management of transgenic plants. At present, plants are increasingly used to produce valuable proteins and secondary metabolites for food and pharmaceutical purposes. New insights into the molecular basis of plant-insect, plant- pathogen and crop-weed relationships enable the development of disease-resistant plants and strategies for integrated pest management. A fundamental approach is combined with the development of tools and technologies to apply in plant breeding, plant pathology, post-harvest quality control, and the production of renewable resources. Besides covering the technological aspects, Plant Biotechnology also deals with the ethical issues and regulatory aspects, including intellectual property rights.

Specialisations

Functional Plant Genomics
Functional genomics aims at understanding the relationship between an organism's genome and its phenotype. The availability of a wide variety of sequenced plant genomes has revolutionised insight into plant genetics. By combining array technology, proteomics, metabolomics and phenomics with bioinformatics, gene expression can be studied to understand the dynamic properties of plants and other organisms.

Plants for Human and Animal Health
Plants are increasingly being used as a safe and inexpensive alternative for the production of valuable proteins and metabolites for food supplements and pharmaceuticals. This specialisation provides a fundamental understanding of how plants can be used for the production of foreign proteins and metabolites. In addition, biomedical aspects such as immunology and food allergy, as well as nutritional genomics and plant metabolomics, can also be studied.

Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology
Molecular approaches to analyse and modify qualitative and quantitative traits in crops are highly effective in improving crop yield, food quality, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. Molecular plant breeding focuses on the application of genomics and QTL-mapping to enable marker assisted selection of a trait of interest (e.g. productivity, quality). Molecular plant pathology aims to provide a greater understanding of plant-insect, plant-pathogen and crop-weed interactions in addition to developing new technologies for integrated plant health management.These technologies include improved molecular detection of pathogens and transgene methods to introduce resistance genes into crops.

Your future career

The main career focus of graduates in Plant Biotechnology is on research and development positions at universities, research institutes, and biotech- or plant breeding companies. Other job opportunities can be found in the fields of policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Over 75% of Plant Biotechnology graduates start their (academic) career with a PhD.

Alumnus Behzad Rashidi.
“I obtained my bachelor degree in the field of agricultural engineering, agronomy and plant breeding, at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran. The curiosity and interest for studying plant biotechnology and great reputation of Wageningen University motivated me to follow the master programme Plant Biotechnology. I got a chance to do my internship at State University of New York at Buffalo, working on biofuel production from microalgae. Working with this small unicellular organism made me even more motivated to continue my research after my master. Now I am doing my PhD in the Plant Breeding department of Wageningen University, working on biorefinery of microalgae.”

Related programmes:
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Molecular Life Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Nutrition and Health
MSc Bioinformatics
MSc Biology.

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In response to the necessary transition to a sustainable society and heightened global competition, modern chemical processes need to be energy- and material efficient, compact, flexible, less toxic, safe, environmentally benign and conducive to the rapid commercialisation of new products. Read more
In response to the necessary transition to a sustainable society and heightened global competition, modern chemical processes need to be energy- and material efficient, compact, flexible, less toxic, safe, environmentally benign and conducive to the rapid commercialisation of new products.

This programme provides you with advanced knowledge and the skills necessary to improve and develop innovative processes that are environmentally sustainable as well as technically and economically sound.

Programme description

Developing the processes that convert commodities into finished products, decreasing the use of scarce natural resources and fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable alternatives, turning waste into new products, minimizing emissions and developing the next generation of exhaust after-treatment and renewable fuels. These are some examples of where Chemical engineers play a central role in developing the processes and products needed for the transition to a sustainable society.
The courses cover the basis of sustainable technology, the production of renewable materials and the efficient use of energy. More in-depth knowledge is obtained through three profile tracks within the programme: Sustainable development, Modelling and Design and Pulp and paper. Biorefinery, CFD- Computational Fluid Dynamics and Process Analytical Technology are examples of courses focusing on emerging fields for Chemical Engineers.

After the programme you will have
Comprehensive knowledge of chemical engineering subjects central to the production of materials and energy.
The ability to design and evaluate sustainable and innovative processes and systems.
The ability to plan, perform and evaluate experiments on the lab, pilot and plant scale.
Competence in performing and critically analysing advanced technical modelling and simulations of chemical phenomena and processes.
Develop new sustainable chemical products and processes
Identify environmental and sustainability limitations of processes
Develop processes for producing chemicals and energy from renewable materials

Educational methods

In most courses, you will work in groups with open-ended, complex, real-life and case scenario problems i.e. solutions must be found for problems with incomplete and uncertain data. Students have many opportunities to try alternative solutions and evaluate their ideas in comparison to existing industrial solutions. Also, adjunct professors and guest lecturers from industry present their views on product and process development.

As a student you are trained to:

Identify and formulate problems and to apply knowledge to the problem-solving process.
Collect, interpret, critically examine, analyse and evaluate technical information.
Understand and analyse the connections between society, technology, the environment and economics.
Present results and information both in writing and verbally.
Have a “fearless” attitude and embrace new challenges.
Cultivate professional attributes, such as a willingness to make qualified estimations and assumptions and a readiness to face open-ended problems and uncertain data.
Work in an international environment and be culturally aware.

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