Bioeconomy is a growing international field that combines traditional fields in a new way. The aim in bioeconomy is to reduce our dependency on fossil natural resources and to prevent biodiversity loss. The transition towards bioeconomy requires the ability to create new solutions by combining existing processes, raw materials and side streams.
Bioeconomy is growing rapidly, and in order to develop it, we need experts and entrepreneurs who are capable of taking advantage of the opportunities to use, refine and export biomass to create new business. Bioeconomy specialisation studies have been designed by eight universities of applied science and two universities to meet this challenge.
The specialisation studies are a new form of training offered by the universities, designed to complement previous degrees for people working in certain professions so that they would have stronger expertise in their current jobs. The specialisation studies are offered in cooperation between the universities and employers in fields where degree programmes are not available. Teaching and learning are based on company-specific development tasks.
The specialisation studies are suitable for people who work, or will be working, in the field of bioeconomy in companies, consultation or promotion tasks, or as vocational teachers, or who operate in the public sector to promote bioeconomy. The training is suited for entrepreneurs or individuals who aim to become entrepreneurs in the field of, for example, bio-based production and raw material procurement for bioproducts. The applicants must have a suitable university degree or other degree suitable for the field of bioeconomy.
In Eastern Finland, the bioeconomy specialisation studies (30 cu) will be organised jointly by the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, and Savonia University of Applied Sciences. The recommended time for completing the programme is 18 months, beginning from autumn 2018. The studies will be carried out as multiform teaching, consisting mainly of online studies but also including contact days. Teaching and learning are based on company-specific development tasks.
The universities will divide responsibilities in the following way:
The studies will be organised with special funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. In addition, the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Savonia University of Applied Sciences in cooperation, and companies and other organisations working in the field of bioeconomy will develop a new work-based learning and teaching model that have been piloted in the bioeconomy specialisation studies in 2018–2020. The development work was funded by the European Social Fund. Second implementation of bioeconomy specialisation studies started on September 2020 and development will continue in new project called “Developing international bioeconomy competence in Eastern Finland by working life oriented continuous learning”.