HBO postdoc programme; a strong connection between education and research

To help universities of applied sciences further strengthen their ambitions in the field of connecting education and research, the government has been funding HBO post-doctoral positions for PhD researchers since 2018. Within this two-year programme, the postdocs are equally working in research and in education. As a result, not only the connection between the two is strengthened, but also new career opportunities are created in higher professional education for PhD students, whose contribution is crucial for the desired quality impulse in research. HZ lecturers Giuliana Scuder, Civil Engineering and Tanja Moerdijk-Poortvliet (Chemistry) both successfully applied for this position.

Back to the materials of the future

What are the mechanical properties of biobased building materials such as lignin, wood, bio-composite and bamboo? Will they ultimately be a fully-fledged alternative to traditional choices of concrete and steel? These are questions that the professional field concerned, which is looking for safe and sustainable building materials, would like to have answered. In collaboration with the Biobased Buildings research group, the professional field, students from the Civil Engineering study programme and Scalda, Giuliana is searching for these answers. The second-year Civil Engineering students, for example, are designing a port for the biobased industry, an assignment that resulted from a collaboration with North Sea Port. The results of the complete research are translated into, among other things, ready-to-use application guidelines for the professional field and a portfolio with examples and applications. A continuous learning pathway is also being developed in the Civil Engineering curriculum. The aim of this is to make the new generation of civil engineers aware of the existence and application of these materials, so that biobased construction does not remain a matter of the future.

Lectures with seaweed molecules

According to Tanja, pictured on the right side of the photo, the research into seaweed is currently still “in its infancy” but offers, certainly for a province such as Zeeland, “an enormous number of opportunities”. The power of seaweed is that it contains useful substances and can serve as a sustainable raw material, for example as an alternative to animal proteins. From the connection between the Marine Biobased Specialties research group and the Chemistry study, Tanja, together with students and seaweed producers, examines how a better insight into the taste and texture of seaweed can be obtained. In the future this will make a more sustainable production and the processing of seaweed into end products for the consumer possible. Due to the breadth and social relevance of the subject, there are obvious links with other disciplines such as marketing and cultivation. One of Tanja’s spearheads is to ensure that practice-oriented research is implemented in the Chemistry Curriculum, which makes the programme even more concrete, qualitative and fun.

A marvelous title