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Course development: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Biosystems Engineering

An emerging paradigm in Universities is to shift from graduates being job seekers towards them being job creators. This module will be developed to ease the transition from university to work in a global context and will address the idea of "How do students make BSEN work for them?"

A working group, led by Prof Nicholas Holden (UCD) and Prof Francisco Ayuga (UPM) defined the concept for an online module of 5 ECTS credits / 2-3 credit hours, aimed at students in the 3rd year of a programme. The module has a number of specific objectives:
  • Shift expectations of graduates from being job seekers towards being job creators
  • Develop knowledge of the business environment both sides of the Atlantic
  • Ease the transition from university to work in a global context
  • Promote innovation in the Biosystems Engineering discipline
  • Encourage graduates to think of new opportunities
  • Develop the global relevance of the subject
  • Explore and understand the transfer of ideas from academic Biosystems Engineering into products processes and services targeted at industry
  • To be able to set up a company founded on a product, process or service associated with Biosystems Engineering
The curriculum outline is:
  1. Intro to business development
  2. The business plan
  3. Market assessment 1
  4. Technology validation 1
  5. Finance and investment
  6. Entrepreneurship
  7. Market assessment 2
  8. Legal and IP
  9. Technology validation 2
  10. Eco-design and engineering optimization 1
  11. Eco-design and engineering optimization 2
  12. Local and international examples
The work was presented at the ASABE International Meeting in 2012, Dallas TX, USA and is ongoing.
Current activity:
  • Compilation of learning objects and online module strucutre
  • Developing local business contacts to contribute to the real-world examples in the teaching
  • Module implementation
Last updated:21-05-2013


N. M. Holden UCD
M. L. Wolfe VT
R. S. Gates UIUC
D. Briassoulis AUA
F. Ayuga UPM
G. Scarascia-Mugnozza UniBa

EU Coordinator:

Prof Nicholas M Holden
UCD School of Biosystems Engineering
Room 3.03, Agriculture and Food Science Centre
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4

US Coordinator:

Dr Mary Leigh Wolfe
Biological Systems Engineering
305 Seitz Hall
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

This project is funded by:

Details of the programme can be found here
Details of the programme can be found here
N. M Holden 2009
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland