Health and a sustainable future are in focus for Chalmers within the research of biotechnology. Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary science that primarily includes biology and technology. In the research for example cells or enzymes are used in engineering applications for manufacturing of new materials, energy or medicine.
That Chalmers now is starting up a brand new institution is unique in its kind and the plan is to further expand in the coming years. Upon its establishment the department has about 160 employees, of which a larger part is researchers, and is expected to grow to 250 employees before 2020. The Head of Department is Jens Nielsen and it consists of the four divisions Food and Nutrition Science, Industrial Biotechnology, Systems and Synthetic Biology and Chemical Biology.
The Head of Division for Food and Nutrition Science is Ann-Sofie Sandberg and the Head of Division for Industrial Biology is Lisbeth Olsson. Jens Nielsen is also managing Systems and Synthetic Biology.
– I am very excited to make this a very strong department at Chalmers, but also a department that will hopefully position itself as a leading bio-department both nationally and internationally, says the Head of Department Jens Nielsen.
From its inception the department will have world leading research activities in food and nutrition science, industrial biotechnology and systems biology, and will soon expand further in the field of chemical biology so this also can take a strong position.
The department has already today an extensive collaboration with the industry and the society, as well as with other researchers and universities. The research is linked to several Areas of Advance at Chalmers including Life Science Engineering. The vision is to bridge cutting edge life science research with biochemical engineering to emerge as the leading innovation center in the region.
The new department also means an increased focus on education in biotechnology. Chalmers offers programmes leading to the BSc (3 years), MSc (2 years) and MScEng (5 years) degrees in Bio Engineering, as well as post graduate education leading to the PhD degree. The BSc and MScEng programmes have been assessed to be of very high quality, and have a large number of applicants to the 60 seats. With a degree in Bio Engineering you can work with issues that affect the development of society and people’s everyday life. The area includes a broad range of challenges such as sustainable development, environmental issues, energy, functional food, health and quality of life.
– We have an impressive faculty covering both established professors and young faculty that I am sure will over the years position themselves strongly in the international landscape of their respective research areas, says Jens Nielsen.