The School of Forest Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland is a partner in a new Erasmus+ project of the European Bioeconomy University, EBU, which seeks to develop a mechanism to enhance bioeconomy students’ cross-sectoral mindset. Thanks to a shared platform for online learning and study tours, students will be able to include in their studies courses offered by all EBU member universities. This line of collaboration seeks to improve students’ cross-sectoral understanding of research subjects and business activities. Successful completion of the study module will be recognised with a certificate issued by the EBU.
“The goal is to provide students with increasingly diverse skills to operate in different roles within the bio-based industry and research, as well as to respond to the growing need for bioeconomy expertise,” says Professor Timo Tokola, the UEF contact person and local manager of the project.
The three-year EBU Student Journey project is coordinated by the University of Hohenheim. Other members of the EBU are the University of Eastern Finland, AgroParisTech (Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences), the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, the University of Bologna, and Wageningen University and Research. The project will develop and test the first version of the EBU’s jointly offered courses and create the associated quality guidelines. The role of the University of Eastern Finland pertains to best practices and guidelines for organising training and seminars in close cooperation with stakeholders.
The courses offered by the EBU provide students with the latest expertise and knowledge on European bioeconomy education, including multidisciplinary bioeconomy research within the chemicals, food and forest industries in Finland, bio-based value chains in Germany, horizons for bio-based sciences and biosystems in the Netherlands, governance of renewable natural resources and food safety in Austria, Italian insights into the circular economy, and a comprehensive view of the French bioeconomy.
The courses seek to expand students’ ideas and experiences of what the European bioeconomy in different sectors is, and what it can be in the future. The EBU Student Journey also focuses on developing students’ skills in cross-disciplinary thinking and problem-solving, as well as their “soft skills”, such as communication, intercultural competence, collaboration and networking, leadership, critical thinking and conflict resolution.