Sustainability in the agro-food chain

How to apply

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During this summer school the students will deal with the various aspects of sustainability in the agro-food chain for the production of safe and high quality food products, bioenergy and industrial products. Sustainable development in the agro-food chain is inextricably linked to the use of bio-production (plant, animal, forestry, water) for food and non-food products. Responsible use of bio-production from the agro-food chain is of the utmost importance for answering the 9 billion people question, for attaining economic welfare and at the same time protecting the environment.

To meet the aforementioned challenges the production of food and biomass for food will require fertile land and water. Demand for increased productivity will lead to more intensive crop systems, genetic modifications, monocultures and varying effects in concern to quality.  The land use planning will be based on a multi-objective approach considering economical, ecological, engineering, social, ethical and cultural aspects of the bio-economy.
The growth of the bio-economy sector over the next two decades is expected to be tremendous.  Agriculture, forestry and other primary production systems are predicted to account for about one third of the growth in this sector.


This summer school provides a comprehensive overview of the bio-production from plant, animal, forestry and water for applications in food, bio-energy and industrial products.  The integrated approach of the various steps in the agro-food chain "From Soil to Table - From Stable to Table" involves a dynamic integration of various disciplines.  The summer school is designated to explain and to discuss a wide range of issues that are relevant to sustainability in the bio-economy from different and integrated viewpoints.

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of the sustainable aspects of the agro-food chain from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • Insight in the valorisation of the bio-production for food and non-food
  • Skills to deal with the rapidly changing bio-production environment in particular the influence of climate change
  • Understanding of the social, cultural and ethical aspects of the agro-food chain


The study of the agro-food chain involves a multidisciplinary approach using theories and concepts from various study areas such as agricultural production, biotechnology, environmental sciences, engineering, chemistry, bio-energy, food sciences and bio-economy. The programme consists of courses, site visits (to research and industrial facilities), feedback sessions and a cultural programme. Following topics will be discussed:

  • Introduction to the European Union, Belgium and Flanders
  • Plant and animal production
  • Soil and water management
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetic engineering
  • Environmental sciences
  • Food quality and safety
  • Renewable resources for bio-energy and non-food products
  • Bio-economy

Admission Requirements

Students (BSc, MSc) from life sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, chemistry and economy are invited to apply on condition of English proficiency.


  • 13 - 26 May, 2018
  • Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • Registration fee: €2,750**
    -    14 nights' stay at youth hostel, including breakfast and lunch
    -    Several dinners
    -    Transport from/to airport, companies and cultural events
    -    All courses and course material
    -    Transport from/to the coast of Belgium and one night in hotel, breakfast included
    Not included:
    -    Personal expenses
    -    Transport from/to home location to Belgium
    -    Other meals than listed above
    -    Insurance
  • Registration deadline: 14 April 2017
** Our Faculty does not offer scholarships, you need to be able to fund this short training programme on your own financial means. Please do not apply if you have not yet managed to secure funding.