SINReM is a 2-year master programme (120 ECTS credits) leading towards the joint diploma of International Master of Science in Sustainable and Innovative Natural Resource Management. Students graduating from the programme are also awarded the EIT Label Certificate, demonstrating their innovation and entrepreneurship knowledge. SINReM is part of the International Training Centre of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University and the EIT RawMaterials Academy.
During the first semester at Ghent University, students are taken through the value chain of raw materials, and are introduced to the sustainability challenges of the circular economy. Students learn to develop novel technologies to recover and extract precious metals and raw materials from waste streams and learn to create new technologies to mine materials in a sustainable way. Students take a 3-weeks course on the process chain of mineral resources at TU Freiberg in September.
During the second semester at Uppsala University, students are trained in georesource exploration and entrepreneurship, and are stimulated to excel in creativity with a entrepreneurial mindset and innovative problem-based technology development skills. All students move as a cohort between all three partner universities in the first year which has significant networking and social cohesion advantages.
During the first part of the summer, students follow the Resources Chemistry course at TU Freiberg. The course covers fundamentals in chemistry of ore deposits, kinetic aspects of precipitation and extraction, and chemical foundations of metallurgical processes. Students are made familiar with applications in hydro- and pyrometallurgical processing and recycling technologies.
During the third semester, students choose a major consisting of mandatory and optional courses in a particular field of sustainable and innovative natural resource management. Student follow the major at one of the 3 partner universities.
Click on the image below to discover more about the different majors.
During the summer holidays between the first and the second year, or at any other convenient period, students perform an internship related to their major. The internship is supervised by an academic staff member and a non-academic partner from the extensive SINReM network of research institutes, private companies and other institutions.
The SINReM programme is completed by a 30 ECTS credits master dissertation. The work is done during the fourth semester, although some students start already in the third semester.
The major Georesource exploration offered at Uppsala University involves cutting-edge research in the areas of geophysical and mineralogical-geochemical exploration of mineral deposits. Uppsala University has expertise in mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry applied to mineralization and ore deposits as well as mine waste for critical elements. SMART Exploration, a horizon 2020 project (https://smartexploration.eu/), focuses on innovative developments in geophysics with application to the mining industry. Researchers develop 3D geophysical models of ore deposits and investigate the role of the physical properties of the rocks. Collaboration ensures integration of geophysical results with the broader context provided by geological and mineralogical perspectives. Research into induced seismicity targets the hazards of mining and others consider the sustainability issues. From the environmental perspective researchers are involved in projects such as NITREM (https://eitrawmaterials.eu/project/nitrem/) that investigates the extraction of nitrogen from mine waste. Other researchers are active in understanding the mineral supply chain as well as sustainable development related to mines and mining.
The master dissertation should focus on geological, geochemical or geophysical exploration, including mineralogy, critical minerals and metals. Other aspects involve management of primary resources (mines and exploration sites), urban mining and mineral supply, environmental aspects of mining and environmental baselines for potential mine sites as well as sustainable development issues related to mines and mining.
The major Sustainable processes offered at TU Freiberg focuses on the different stages of the mineral processing pathway: from the exploration of new deposits; the development of alternative energy technologies and materials; to the recycling and management of resources. TU Freiberg is the only European university that operates their own underground research and teaching mine, and as the oldest mining university in the world. TU Freiberg is involved in interdisciplinary research projects such as in-situ bioleaching and refining of strategically important metals such as indium and germanium (especially relevant as both elements were discovered at TU Freiberg). Whenever possible, research projects commercialise their results through start-up companies such as PARFORCE, which produces phosphoric acid from waste materials.
Master dissertation projects can come from a wide variety of fields but should focus on the science and/or engineering aspects of materials processing. At the department of Mineral Processing Machines comminution and the sorting of raw materials can be studied. Due to the large number of industrial partners, experimental investigations using full size industrial machines is possible for students. In the Chemical Technology, Inorganic Chemistry and Biology departments, hydro- and biohydrometallurgical mineral leaching and recycling methods are being developed to extract strategically important metals from primary sources or secondary raw materials such as tailings and old batteries. This research has resulted in two start-up companies in recent years. The treatment of aqueous process streams can be studied in the department of Process Engineering. Amongst other topics, research focuses on selective separation of strategically important elements from polymetallic streams using membrane techniques. The Non-ferrous Metallurgy department focusses on the development of electro-winning and refining procedures as well as pyrometallurgical methods on both the lab and pilot plant scale.
Through industrial partnerships, there are opportunities to complete a master dissertation at partner institution such as one of the nation-wide Helmholtz Centres, or companies such as Aurubis, Europe’s largest copper producer. TU Freiberg also has strong links to the production industry, allowing students to produce end-stage products such as sensors and semiconductor technologies relevant to the mining and recycling sector.
Resource recovery and sustainable materials
In the major Resource recovery and sustainable materials offered at Ghent University, students focus on the application and development of resource recovery and recycling technologies and the development of more sustainable materials, e.g., by using waste as a resource or by substituting less sustainable materials components, so that natural resources are not depleted or permanently damaged. Focus is mainly laid on metals and mineral resources, although technologies for water reuse, recycling of plastics and carbon capture and utilization can also be in the scope, particularly if new technologies developed in these domains may help to make the raw materials value chain more sustainable. Accordingly, the sustainability of new materials and technologies is also assessed through e.g. life cycle assessment tools.
The master dissertation should focus on one of these topics. The mandatory course in this major gives students insights in (factors affecting) the sustainable management of resources in the circular economy (including e.g. industrial symbiosis), whereas a first list of elective courses, include courses on waste(water) treatment, sustainable materials (e.g., composites), waste management, resource recovery and recycling technologies. A second list of elective courses offers the students a wide range of tools that may aid in the development of these new technologies and materials (e.g. extraction and separation technologies, control and process engineering, life cycle and environmental impact assessment).
The major Circular societies offered at Ghent University focuses on re-engineering the value chain, designing sustainable processes, systems and new business models for evolving towards a circular society. Therefore, data on e.g. flows of materials within the society are collected, analysed, and processed, and the sustainability of these novel processes and systems is assessed. Prevention of waste generation is targeted, and generated wastes are explored as potential new resources. These activities create symbiosis between different stakeholders and actors in the value chain. Particular attention goes to the management of societal changes, aligned with the sustainable development goals. The city of Ghent acts as central case in this major.
The master dissertation should fit into this scope. Mandatory courses deal with sustainable management of resources in the circular economy (including e.g. industrial symbiosis) and the design of sustainable circular cities (summer school). Elective courses focus on sustainable development, sustainable waste(water) management, and the organisation of circular societies, including transport and logistics, sustainable mobility and sustainable energy production. The latter are not only essential for evolving towards a sustainable society, but also increase the need for critical metals and raw materials in the society.
The major Sustainable Entrepreneurship offered at Uppsala University offers teaching and training to become entrepreneurs and to understand the essence of sustainable business development in general as well as in established companies. Teaching is organized as joint classes with students from the international master program Sustainable Destination Development, which offers several opportunities for learning synergies. The Sustainable Entrepreneurship major has two courses, the first one addressing models for sustainable entrepreneurship, where students critically examine them from a sustainability perspective. The second course focuses on applications of these models in real business settings and offers a possibility to specialize in different aspects of sustainable business development. The students will work in groups with assignments designed to illustrate important and critical sustainability challenges in the raw-material industry. Company visits and several guest lectures both from industry and academia characterizes the teaching as well as individual assignments and mentoring.
The master thesis can either be focusing on starting of a new venture in the raw-material industry, covering market research, co-creation and funding aspects of starting a new company, or contribute to sustainable technology and business development in an established company. Each fall interested companies or research groups from partner universities are invited to present thesis project proposals to the students in the Sustainable Entrepreneurship major. The students will choose between these alternatives for their thesis work.
Programme learning outcomes
Below, the SINReM programme overview for academic year 2023-2024 is shown. Current SINReM students can consult the programme overview of past, current and future academic years in the Ghent University Study Guide by selecting the concerned academic year.
Master year 1 (60 ECTS)
*housing in Freiberg is organised by the SINReM programme during this 3-week course and is included in the programme participation cost
Master year 2 (60 ECTS)
Choose a major of 15 ECTS by combining the mandatory courses with electives. The master thesis (30 ECTS) is to be taken at the same university as your major. The Training in Industry (internship, 10 ECTS) is performed at one of the non-academic partners of SINReM. Literature Study and Business Plan (5 ECTS) is offered online during the third semester by TU Freiberg.