Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


BioEnergyTrain Report Summary

Project ID: 656760
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BioEnergyTrain (BioEnergyTrain)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The development and adoption of renewable and sustainable energy has become a top priority in Europe, and is Horizon 2020’s most prominent theme. Research into new energy methods required to reduce humanity’s carbon footprint is an urgent and critical need, and is reliant upon a flow of newly qualified persons in areas as diverse as renewable energy infrastructure management, new energy materials and methods, and smart buildings and transport.

Bioenergy is a particularly important field in this respect as it is at the cross-roads of several important European policies, from the Strategic Energy Technology Plan Roadmap on Education and Training (SET-Plan) to the European Bio-economy Strategy to European Food Safety and Nutrition Policy. European development in this prioritised field is stalled due to a lack of qualified personnel, a lack of cohesion and integration among stakeholders, and poor linkage between professional training and industry needs.

To address these problems, BioEnergyTrain brings together fifteen partners from six EU countries to create new post-graduate level curricula in key bioenergy disciplines, and a network of tertiary education institutions, research centres, professional associations and industry stakeholders encompassing the whole value chain of bioenergy from field/forest to integration into the sustainable energy systems of buildings, settlements and regions.

The project will foster European cooperation to provide a highly skilled and innovative workforce across the whole bioenergy value chain, closely following the recommendations of the SET-Plan Education Roadmap.
As aligned with the SET-Plan’s needs analysis for European development, BioEnergyTrain has the following objectives:
• To address identified knowledge gaps through common training collaboration and best practices by clearly identifying the technology and knowledge chain for the development and leverage of European expertise. As identified by the SET-Plan there are two areas where expertise on the post-graduate level is urgently needed within the field of bio-economy development: bio-refinery engineers, and bio-resource value chain managers.
• To bridge the gap between industrial innovation and education in order to improve the practical orientation of higher and professional education to enable the market up-take of innovative solutions for SET-Plan measures.
• To create a network of integrated research and industrial infrastructures and develop programmes on the integration of practical training modules at these installations in curricula.
• To create a forum for stakeholders within the bioenergy value chain from research, universities, industry and the public sector to exchange information on educational needs and share knowledge and experience.
• To create a ‘network of networks’, linking HEIs with stakeholders in their regional context, providing information, awareness raising and training opportunities as well as hands-on assistance for implementing bioenergy systems.

The main deliverables will be the two master curricula Biorefinery Engineer (BRE) and Bioresource Value Chain Manager (BVCM). The curricula will be implemented at the two pilot universities University of Twente (NL) (BVCM) and Graz University of Technology (AT) (BRE). The new courses created by the BET partners will have open access through an online e-learning platform.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

1. BioEnergyTrains’ main objective is to develop two new master programmes: Biorefinery Engineer (BRE), led by Technical University of Graz (TU Graz), and Bioresource Value Chain Manager (BVM), led by the University of Twente (UTwente).

One of the tools for developing the curricula were the four Curriculum Development workshops organized in the first reporting period (July 2015 in Lisbon, December 2015 in Brussels, April 2016 in Graz and July 2016 in Lisbon). In these meetings the consortium discussed the curriculum development framework, identified the knowledge gaps, the courses to be developed to close these gaps and the outlines of the courses under development.

At the first CD Team Workshop on July 22, 2015 in Lisbon, the Curriculum and Implementation Framework was discussed. This framework was developed by TU Graz and the UTwente in close cooperation with all other project partners involved in the curriculum development team, which consists of academic teachers as well as industrial experts to ensure that professional needs gaps were met and thematic compatibility was given to the vocational training. The BioEnergyTrain project aims at using all synergies in the development of cutting edge master curricula covering the technological as well as the resource and value chain management aspects of bio-resource utilisation within a joint approach. A number of topics that are essential in the material and energy utilisation of bio-resources will therefore become part of both curricula.

First, the CD team assessed the available courses according to compliance with the educational framework. From this, knowledge gaps have been identified by the curricula development team, including topics at the cutting edge of biorefinery engineering and bioresource value chain manager that have not been transferred from research to education. A list with 20 courses addressing the identified knowledge gaps for BRE and BVCM was developed by the consortium and responsibilities were identified. Of these courses some are compulsory within the BRE and BVM curricula, others will be offered as electives.

During the 2nd CD Workshop in Brussels on 2nd December 2015 KIC presented the results of different surveys on the current and future needs of the bioenergy industry concerning skills of their employees (WP3). The aim was to analyse these needs and identify the skills that could be provided through the curricula by adapting and including new courses/learning materials. In addition, in this CD Workshop all authors of the courses were asked to provide detailed content descriptions, broken down to the level of “nuggets” (i.e. topical course units). The leaders of WP1 (TU Graz) and WP2 (UTwente) provided guidelines for delivering the specific content.

After the 2nd CD workshop the CD framework was finalized, which includes the content framework of the two curricula with the description of modules. It also provided the basic quality standards for the course material to be developed (e.g. general framework for BioEnergyTrain master curricula courses, templates for BioEnergyTrain course descriptions), as well as a detailed division of work within the consortium regarding the topics of the courses to be newly developed. The framework also specified an implementation framework of both BRE curriculum at TU Graz as BVCM curriculum at UTwente, defining the steps to be taken according to the rules for the development of new English master curricula at TU Graz and UTwente.

All syllabi have been established by the lecturers/instructors from HEIs and business. The syllabus presents the outline of the course with detailed content description, broken down to the level of “nuggets” (i.e. topical course units). A first set of lectures and course materials, including presentations and bibliography lists, have been developed by the authors of the courses according to educational and practical relevance standards (Task 5.1) as well as standards for supplyi

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

BioEnergyTrain focuses on the training of qualified personnel in the emerging areas of biorefinery engineering and bioresource value chain management directly impacting the development of bioenergy in the EU. In the Description of Actions (DoA) the impacts of BioEnergyTrain were described as follows:
1. BioEnergyTrain provides skilled professionals to implement the SET-Plan.
2. These two curricula will be integrated fully (or partly as specialisations) by the universities in the consortium.
3. The project links actors for bioenergy education along the value chain and across Europe.
4. BioEnergyTrain help its partners and networks to develop competitively.
5. The project greatly enhances student experience and knowledge to meet rising expectations.

To measure the impact of the project, eseia created a first draft of the BioEnergyTrain Impact Metrics (Annex 27 BioEnrgyTrain Impact Metrics). These include both quantitative metrics, such as number of students trained, number of graduations, number of HEIs and business involved, as well as qualitative metrics, based on interview developed by the Impact Analysis Team, that will start their first activity next reporting period after the first three Professional Education Formats have taken place.

In the first reporting period BET has involved the regional and industrial stakeholders to identify the needs of the region and the industry regarding the two Master’s curricula and the alternative training formats. Questionnaires were customized for use by regional and industrial players. In total, 200 industries and regional organisations were reached. In addition, the partners organised a total of 15 outreach activities, including personnel interviews, external project meetings and workshops.

Preliminary results of the questionnaire show that there is a shortage of qualified personnel in Biochemical Engineering. The outreach activities resulted most of the time in actual involvement of the organisation in BET, such as giving a guest lecture, hosting a study visit, or offer a place for students for their master thesis.

The training impact of BioEnergyTrain as such in the first period was limited due to the fact that the two master curricula will start in October 2017 and the first students will enrol in the second reporting period. However, two Professional Educational Formats have already been implemented as a pilot: one Student Camp and one International Summer School. In total, the PEFs and the Professional Training trained 45 students and professionals.

Student Camp
On 7-11 March 2016 at BRP-Powertrain in Gunskirchen, Austria, 23 students participated in the Student Camp, which linked education with practice (see WP3 task 3.2). The feedback of the students showed that they were very positive on the student camp, with an average score of 9.1 out of 10. According to the students, the camp enhanced their technical and social skills by working in interdisciplinary teams with advice from academic and industrial experts.
International Summer School
The International Summer School took place on 18-29 July 2016 at LNEG in Lisbon, Portugal. In total 19 participants received lectures on the topic of Biorefineries (see WP3 Task 3.2). The participants gave the ISS a score of 12.4 out of 15 and were very positive about the hands-on programme with the industrial site visits and the workshop sessions.
Professional Training
In addition to the implementation of the pilot Professional Education Formats, eseia organised a Professional Training on the Bioeconomy. Three professionals received training to gain a generate understanding of the biobased economy and to elaborate on their won biobased subject supported by experts.

In the second reporting period, the BET Impact Analysis Team will need to focus on forging initial contacts with actors into sustainable partnerships. Dissemination and exploitation as well as communication will need to be stepped up consid

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