Biosystems Engineering (MBE) / MSc


The objective of the MSc programme Biosystems Engineering is to educate academic professionals who are able to solve technology related problems in the field of biosystems engineering. The emphasis of the programme is on acquiring in-depth knowledge, integrating knowledge, and the development of innovative technology and systems for a biobased society.
Typical problems in protected cultivations are for example efficient organisation and transport of plants or products in a greenhouse, energy management, light management or management of the indoor climate. Energy is needed for crop growth but is also a major cost; light is needed too but too much artificial light hampers the environment. In animal production improving animal welfare and reduction of emissions are important issues. Similar issues play a role in the housing of companion and other non-production animals. Issues in the field of arable farming are for example fertilisation, crop protection, soil quality, and environmental impact. In the biobased society there is still a growing need for renewable resources, either for energy or as resource for the industry. Optimisation of production chains, integration of consumer demands, food safety, or handling perishable products is becoming more and more important. For all these areas the availability of qualified labour at reasonable costs is a main point of concern. All these issues in the domain of biosystems have in common that technology plays a very important role in solving these problems.
The study programme is an individually tailor made thesis oriented programme. The students are introduced to technology development and engineering of systems for a biobased society, the design of innovative biosystems, and the quantitative evaluation of these innovative biosystems. The thesis can be chosen from different important disciplines within agricultural and biosystems engineering: agricultural engineering (soil technology, greenhouse technology, livestock technology, bioproduction automation), system and control (simulation, process control, robotics, system identification), information technology (databases, simulation, software engineering, information systems), operations research and logistics (agrologistics), biobased commodity chemicals (biobased technology and process engineering), and environmental engineering (biological recycling technology, renewable energy). The students are also trained in consulting on academic level and working in a multidisciplinary team.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- analyse the response and performance of a whole agriculture related and biobased production chain by developing and implementing simulation models of e.g. plant and animal production, mass and energy balances, storage and post-harvest processes;
- assess and improve the performance of a novel system with respect to the environment, society and economics;
- assess sensitivity and uncertainty of innovative systems involving living or perishable objects;
- apply and evaluate structural design methods to typical biosystems engineering design problems;
communicate orally and in writing in a convincing way on the results of learning, experiments, and project work with both specialist and non-specialist audiences in English;
work adequately in a multidisciplinary and/or multicultural team on a pre-defined research, entrepreneurial or consultancy problem;
respond adequately to the societal needs and scientific and societal requirements related to the domain of biosystems engineering;
retrieve and evaluate information from different sources relevant for the biosystems engineering and related disciplines;
design and plan their own learning path based on a continuous reflection on the acquisition of knowledge on new subjects/ topics relevant for the field of biosystems engineering.
For thesis track Biobased Chemistry and Technology (BCT):
- design and execute an academic research plan which contributes to the efficient production of bio based products from sustainable agricultural feedstocks.
For thesis track Environmental Technology (ETE):
- design processes for resource recovery and assess their thermodynamic feasibility and efficiency.
For thesis track Farm Technology (FTE):
- apply methods for sensing, modelling, control and design of biosystems and evaluate their performance.
For thesis track Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing (GRS):
- design spatial models and analyse critically field level and sensor data.
For thesis track Information Technology (INF):
- design and evaluate smart systems for studying complex interactions in the context of biosystems.
For thesis track Operations Research and Logistics (ORL):
- design and assess decision support models and tools that are able to deal with increased complexity and uncertainty in the practice of agri-food chains.
For thesis track Systems and Control (SSC):
- analyse and model dynamic systems and design advanced control strategies.

Programme Director

Dr. ir. W.K.P. van Loon
Radix, Building 107, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen
Phone: 0317-(4)85216 

Study Adviser(s)

- R. Möwes, MSc (A-K)
Phone: 0317-(4)86571
- Ir. G. Straver (L-Z)
Phone: 0317-(4)83908

Programme Committee

Chair: dr. ir. WK..P. van Loon
Secretary: dr. ir. W.K.P. van Loon


Study Association

Heeren XVII, Axis-Z, Bornse Weilanden 9, 6708 WG Wageningen
Phone: 0317-(4)84192