Training for tomorrow's chemistry experts: IMC Krems to launch its new Applied Chemistry bachelor degree programme in autumn 2018

Krems, 30 November 2017 – Rapid technological advances and the advent of Industry 4.0 mean that today’s chemical industry professionals require additional skills. In-depth knowledge of chemistry is still essential, but employers also expect expertise in process analysis and process management due to the wider application of networked IT systems. Chemometrics and related computer-assisted analysis of large volumes of data (big data analysis) are becoming key aspects of quality assurance and online process optimisation (online analytics). In the pharmaceuticals industry API synthesis, in silico studies and molecular modelling are crucial for efficient drug design.

The full-time English-language Applied Chemistry bachelor degree programme is a direct response to the changing skills profile of chemical industry professionals and satisfies the new requirements faced by the industry by means of practical training. By linking specialist fields of chemistry with computer-based methods, students acquire the competences for which industry demand will be stronger in the future.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback from the chemicals industry telling us that there is strong demand for chemists with exactly the type of skills profile that students will develop during their studies at Krems. The mix of theoretical and practical competences means this degree is ideally suited to the industry's requirements. I’m delighted that we’ve extended the range of life sciences programmes available here in Krems,” commented IMC Krems CEO Ulrike Prommer, referring to the new English-language bachelor programme.

Lower Austrian provincial government to provide initial financing

Following a resolution passed by the provincial government of Lower Austria, IMC Krems will receive seed capital of around EUR 2.4 million for its new Applied Chemistry degree programme. “In Lower Austria, and especially in the Krems area, there is an urgent need for qualified, skilled professionals with a comprehensive education in chemistry and practical, applied know-how. They also need to be familiar with the latest computer-assisted methods and digital processes, as well as process analysis – in other words: Industry 4.0. The chemicals industry and its related sectors are particularly strongly represented in Krems, and need long-term support,” said Lower Austria’s provincial commissioner for education, Barbara Schwarz, explaining the background to the decision to grant funding.

Course contents and elective modules

Students acquire in-depth knowledge of basic chemistry subjects (general, analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, and biochemistry), related disciplines (mathematics, informatics, statistics and physics) and chemical process engineering. This is accompanied by comprehensive practical training in the laboratory, which incorporates instrumental analysis. The increased focus on synthetic preparation methods in direct combination with modern analytical techniques, chemical databases and software tools lays the foundations for completing professional tasks in the field of synthesis (API synthesis in the pharmaceuticals industry, synthesis of materials in the polymers and materials sector), and addressing analytical issues (quality assurance; responsibilities in the environmental and pharmaceutical industry and at public authorities).

Towards the end of the programme, students have a choice of two specialist modules. The Instrumental Analysis and Chemometrics elective enhances students’ skills in instrumental analysis, statistical analysis of measurements, multidimensional data analysis and experimental design, preparing them for day-to-day professional tasks in the fields of product safety, as well as environmental, pharmaceutical, forensic and polymer analysis.

In the Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry elective, students acquire advanced skills in computerised simulation of chemical processes and organic and pharmaceutical chemistry. This addresses industry demand for professionals who can be deployed in the pharmaceutical industry and the production of fine chemicals.

Soft skills, the fundamentals of chemicals legislation, process management and basic business administration concepts also form part of the comprehensive curriculum.

Wide-ranging employment prospects

Graduates of the Applied Chemistry degree programme will have a broad range of career options. They will be able to generate, visualise and interpret process data and large volumes of analytics data, and use this as a basis for developing chemometric models; work in computer-based process control and modelling; implement scale-up processes using their process-engineering experience; perform analysis in laboratories and for forensics, forensic science or pharmaceutical organisations; synthesise drugs in the pharmaceuticals industry and manufacture basic chemicals for polymer production and the design of smart materials; as well as develop production and testing processes in order to ensure product quality. With English as the language of instruction, students are ideally placed to enter the jobs market in Austria or abroad. Students graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

Applications for the innovative new degree can be submitted from December 2017.

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