New Master in Wood Sciences at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Montpellier, with a focus on tropical wood


The first school year of the Master of Wood Sciences will start in September 2021 at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Montpellier to train executives, engineers and future researchers, who will be the driving force behind development and innovation in local and tropical companies in the Forest-Wood sector and research laboratories.

Faced with the major challenge of minimizing our impact on the environment, a transition is underway, particularly in the choice of our materials. Due to their renewable nature, low energy cost of production, their recyclable and biodegradable qualities, the uses of wood, which can be produced locally and store carbon, are multiplying and this trend will increase in the coming decades.

"A transition is necessary in our production and consumption patterns. What is true for energy and food is also true for materials. Wood clearly meets these major challenges, and we will need young people trained in woodworking to meet this challenge," says Bruno Clair, Director of Research at CNRS and co-founder of the Master.

A training at the crossroads of the forest-wood sector's challenges

In this interdisciplinary training, the material wood is approached from its formation in the tree to its uses in material or molecules, implementing skills in biology, ecology, chemistry, physics, mechanics, civil engineering and process engineering.

 The training is organized around 11 interdisciplinary items

The training is organized around 11 interdisciplinary items


The training is organized around 11 interdisciplinary items.

The objective of the Master's degree in Wood Sciences is to train students from various degrees (Plant Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanics, Environment), to give them interdisciplinary skills in wood sciences, to help them to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in strong interaction between the academic world and business. All graduates will have acquired a good knowledge of the forest-wood sector, both local and tropical, and will be able to fully position themselves according to their professional project. The master trains executives, engineers and future researchers to meet the needs of national and international markets.


The place of tropical timbers in the Master's degree in Wood Sciences

The site of Montpellier is internationally recognized for its research expertise in tropical agronomy with, in particular, the CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) and the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement). The Master's degree in Wood Sciences thus benefits from the best experts in tropical forestry and tropical woods and students will be strongly sensitized to the specificities and issues related to tropical forests and woods. The understanding of the complexity of tropical wood diversity will be a gateway then to understanding the simpler systems of temperate species.


An innovative approach to learning

The Master's program is built on a competency-based approach, placing the student at the heart of his/her training and based on active teaching methods. Based on a "program approach", the training project is developed collectively by teachers and researchers from different disciplines. The training is built on interdisciplinary competences around the material wood and on transversal and pre-professional competences. In particular, the educational team chose to deploy a large part of the training in the form of problem-based learning (PBL), by creating interdisciplinary subjects.

Sandrine Bardet, Senior Lecturer and co-founder of the master's program, explains: "We designed this master's program to be interdisciplinary and based on active learning methods that develop each student's personal project in a spirit of cooperation".

Partners in the development of the master since its creation

The Master in Wood Sciences is carried by the Faculty of Sciences and will open at the beginning of the 2021 academic year. This project is carried by researchers and teacher-researchers from several components of the University of Montpellier, several departments of the Faculty of Sciences, the School of Chemistry of Montpellier, the IMT Mines d'Alès School and the School of Architecture of Montpellier. Starting with a small team of about 15 people, more than 80 people are now involved in the development of this master.

In close connection with academic research and staff from 15 laboratories on the Montpellier site, the Master's degree has been endorsed by 12 of them, attesting to its great interdisciplinarity and ensuring a strong integration into the production of knowledge.

The Master is also supported by numerous professional organizations:  The Groupement de Recherche National en Sciences du Bois (GDR 3544 "Sciences du Bois"), the interprofessional federations FIBois Occitanie and FIBois Sud, CNRS, CIRAD, ONF, CRPF Occitanie, the Ecole Nationale d'Architecture de Montpellier and the Fondation Alpes-Contrôles.

The educational team of the Master wishes today to amplify this link with the professionals to involve them more in the Master.

Companies of the wood sector :

  • Are you looking for collaborators with cross-disciplinary skills to carry out R&D projects and innovative projects within your structure ? Get in touch with the Master's educational team to discuss the possibilities of taking students on internships or apprenticeships.
  • Do you want to be a partner and support an innovative training project ? Contact the Master's educational team

Contacts of the Master Wood Sciences :

Sandrine Bardet and Bruno Clair

CIRAD contacts :

Marie-France Thévenon

Kévin Candelier

Photo credit : Université de Montpellier

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