BEFORE BIOREF MASTER: EUROBIOREF PROGRAMME

The Biorefinery Master Programme is a course that has been jointly developed by the University of Lille (ULILLE) in France, the University of Bari (UNIBA) in Italy, the University of Technology of Troyes (UTT) in France and the Tadeusz Kościuszko University of Technology (PK) in Poland. The key personnel involved in the design and the structuring of the Master programme have a long-standing collaboration in the frame of EuroBioRef.

EuroBioRef, which stands for ‘European Multilevel Integrated Biorefinery Design for Sustainable Biomass Processing’, was a major European R&D project in the field of biomass conversion which came to an end at the end of 2013. The project included 29 partners in 15 countries and had a budget of € 38 million, of which € 23 million were donated by the European Commission under the FP7 research programme. The main goal of the EuroBioRef project was to develop a new highly integrated and diversified biorefinery concept including multiple feedstocks (non-edible), multiple processes (chemical, biochemical, thermochemical), and multiple products (aviation fuels and chemicals).

Besides the research issues that were dealt with in the frame of EuroBioRef, the project included extensive training activities in order to :

  1. Instruct and train all people involved with production and usage of  biorefineries including industrials, students or research people;
  2. Organise staff training in order to transfer the necessary technological knowledge and to teach;
  3. Disseminate specific knowledge from experts in EuroBioRef to young scientists and facilitate the exchange of good practice among the high level partners involved in different domains;
  4. Provide personal and distance-learning training to extend Science & Technology understanding of the biorefinery concept, and in parallel, promote S&T cohesion within the European Research Area and so increase skills across Europe;
  5. Provide an overview of innovation in the field (M. Aresta, A. Dibenedetto. F. Dumeignil Eds, “Biorefinery: from biomass to chemicals and fuels”, De Gruyter Publ, 2013) and a tool for presenting to advanced students the state-of-the-art of this new branch of industrial chemistry (M. Aresta, A. Dibenedetto, F. Dumeignil Eds: “Biorefineries: An introduction” De Gruyter Publ, 2015).

The key actors of the consortium of the present Bioref Master Programme were heavily involved in all above tasks during EuroBioRef and plan to transfer the expertise gained in the EU large Project into the proposed Master. As a matter of fact, the idea for the present Master course stemmed from the participation in the training activities within EuroBioRef, where it became clear that there is a lack of specialized training and education in the topic of biorefineries and biomass valorisation in Europe and worldwide, especially in developing countries.

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AFTER EUROBIOREF – BIOREF MASTER

Since Eurobioref clearly demonstrated the lack of specialized, high-level workforce in the field of biorefineries, the logical continuation was the education of skilled individuals who would be able to interact and work in such new biomass-based industries, integrating its environmental impacts along the value chains. Building on the acquired experience and expertise, the four participating Universities have designed an integrated, highly effective two-year Master Programme of specialized education in biomass exploitation to multiple fuels and chemicals in an integrated sustainable biorefinery concept.

The programme has been designed to offer unique specialization to its students and skills that will make them attractive to the employment sector and ensure fast and high-quality employability in the labour market and/or in research (PhD).