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The goal of biotechnology is to develop technical methods that make use of biological processes. Thus, biotechnology is an interdisciplinary science, drawing from advances in Biology, Chemistry and Engineering. Examples of biotechnological methods long in use are beer brewing and cheese production. Today, biotechnology covers a wide area, including biological processes involved in pharmaceutical technology, energy production or production of foodstuffs. The Biological aspect supplies basic knowledge from the medical, molecular biological, microbiological and botanical fields. The Chemical aspect delivers important findings for development from biochemistry and analytical chemistry. Finally, principles of applied Engineering enable the building of production processes.

Organization and Degrees

Those who have completed at least four semesters of an undergraduate degree at any university, and register in Freiburg can obtain a B.Sc. in Biology after two semesters of work at the ESBS. After a four-semester Master's programme, one can obtain an M.Sc. in a chosen core area of Biotechnology. Concurrently, it is also possible to obtain the "Diplôme d'Ingénieur en Biotechnologie" degree.

Integration into Industry

During the programme there are various possibilities to make contact with potential employers. The ESBS supervisory board includes representatives of biotechnological enterprises who participate in curriculum design. Practical work plays a significant role in this programme. Aside from the labs that accompany the lectures, there are at least 14 weeks of external internships integrated into the curriculum. The programme concludes with an eight-month Master's project undertaken in either an industrial or academic research lab of choice from around the world.

Parts of the courses, largely practical work, are taught as blocks in Basel and Freiburg. The students spend from two to six weeks for each course at the participating university, which also organizes the accomodation. The Bachelor's and Master's projects will be undertaken at either a university or in industry.

Career Outlook

Career paths for graduates of the programme can be in research and development in industry (e.g. pharmaceutical, foodstuffs, plant construction and environmental technology) and in all areas of biotechnology in academia. Entry-level positions could be in the production, research and development, product and process development or bioinformatic sectors. Another possibility is an advisory and administrative position in the respective agencies and ministries to address issues about international development programmes, applied technologies, environmental problems or resource security. Finally, the path to PhD studies is also open.

Numerous internships and seminars from company representatives give ESBS students the opportunity to establish contacts to Industry, besides those at the University. The ESBS has an active alumni association, which maintains contact between the ESBS and former students. Thus, there are plenty of people to contact who are already working through their career. Alumni day takes place once per year, where former ESBS students travel to Strasbourg and recount their experiences.

The Master of Science degree and the French "Diplôme d'Ingénieur en Biotechnologie" are recognized internationally. It provides for a rapid entry into the job market or into PhD studies. ESBS graduates can be found around the world in many interesting paths, such as research and development, management, quality assurance and training.

Text translated from the original by Dr. Edwin Groot