SL 2533Sylvia Larsson of Bio4Energy presents the B4E Graduate School to a November 2012 meeting organised by the Processum Biorefinery Initiative. Photos by Bio4Energy.It is official: The Bio4Energy Graduate School will kick off with a conference for Bio4Energy’s doctorate students, their supervisors and potential student tutors, 19-20 March 2013 at Skellefteå, Sweden. Apart from the conference, the graduate school will consist of two separate “courses” closely related to the research and development activities in B4E. They should start in May 2013 and in spring 2014, respectively, said Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Umeå University (UmU).

The announcement came this month after a “Task Force Bio4Energy” met to lay down the fundaments of that which is to become a vehicle for networking and tertiary education in bioenergy and biorefinery research for PhD and post-doctorate researchers enrolled in studies at one of the B4E partner universities.    

Addressed to those interested in the theory and practice of bioenergy and biorefinery R&D based on forest-sourced raw materials or organic waste, the first course starting in May next year will describe the research being carried out across the seven B4E Platforms. This Biorefinery Pilot Research Course would be taught at the three B4E R&D hubs at Örnsköldsvik, Umeå and Piteå, said Jansson, who is part of the Task Force.

There, researchers and members of the B4E industrial network would be guiding
students through the different steps ofGS PilotCourse 2539The Bio4Energy Pilot Research Course is unveiled by Sylvia Larsson, researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who is the course coordinator. the bioenergy or biorefinery value chain, giving them the opportunity to experience firsthand the work at northern Sweden’s demonstration units or at organisations hosting pilot equipments geared at bioenergy or biorefinery production, she said.

“We intend for this course to make the doctorate students aware of the status and development of forest-sourced biorefinery techniques”, as well as “challenges and possibilities” that these techniques entail, a background document says.

In spring 2014, a course called System Perspective on Bio-resources will launch to give participants to the B4E graduate school an overview of the global energy system and key techniques for sustainable energy production, with a focus on those sourcing their raw materials from forests or the organic content of different types of waste.

Annual conference to build networks 

But before that, the first annual conference—free of charge to PhD students and “PostDocs” who choose to be part of the graduate school—would be the first purpose-made opportunity provided for the students to network and draw inspiration from each other, as well as a couple of high-profile keynote speakers, the assistant professor Jansson said;

“There the students can create a sense of togetherness and network with other doctorate students in Bio4Energy. We hope it will be very inspiring and give them new perspectives”.

She said that the members of the Task Force, led by the assistant professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Luleå University of Technology (LTU), felt good about the plans for the graduate school so far. The fact that they took aim not only at the research training, but also at creating fora for networking and guidance for student tutors, were felt to be positive features.

“We have created a whole... where we think, not only about the research training, but also about the networking and the tutors”, Jansson said. She added that while high “quality may mean different things in different disciplines”, the Task Force had set goals and an overall framework that would guide the work of the students and tutors.

“Of course there are requirements and expectations: The students should pass the two courses and attend two of the (annual) conferences”, Jansson said.

Greater quality, more collaboration enabled  

In 2009, in their application to the Swedish government for creating the research environment B4E, the scientists behind it set out plans for providing further education for post-secondary graduate students.

“It is a way to bring the different research groups closer to together and make them collaborate”, said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., B4E programme manager. He said the fact that the graduate school would draw together students from UmU, LTU and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences meant that a critical mass of students would be created (of about 20 students per class, according to the plans), which would allow B4E “to conduct activities rationally and raise quality” of the training “considerably”.

A note from the LTU professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who is a member of the Task Force, said further information would be issued after the holidays, which are imminent with Christmas coming up next week.

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