February 2, 2012
Two senior faculty members from Linnaeus University in Sweden will be visiting UNBC from February 6-9 to explore opportunities for collaboration in engineering education and research related to wood construction, bioenergy, and forest products.
Linnaeus University is located in Växjö, a city of 82,000 in southern Sweden. The region is home to a large forest industry and the University has a corresponding focus on education and research connected with forestry and the wood industry. In fact, IKEA was founded in 1943 in a small community near Växjö. Today, Växjö is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe. The city first started using biomass to produce heat and electricity in 1980, and by 2011, 80% of heat for the city was being produced from renewable energy sources. Växjö is also developing a neighbourhood showcasing wood innovation, including two 8-storey apartment buildings built mostly from wood.
Växjö has had its own university since 1999, but Linnaeus University was created in 2010 through a merger between Växjö University and Kalmar University College. The University has a total of 34,000 students. 28 students have participated in exchanges between the two universities since it was signed in 1992.
“There are uncanny similarities between Linnaeus and UNBC, and between Växjö and Prince George,” says UNBC President George Iwama. “As we look to expand our programming in engineering and build upon our growing bioenergy program, there may be no better partner for us. We are excited to have such senior faculty from Linnaeus visit us to explore opportunities for collaboration.”
The Linnaeus officials visiting UNBC are Bjorn Zethraeus, founder of the bioenergy degree program in Växjö and a professor at the University since 1998; and Thomas Thornqvist, who developed the education and research program on forest and wood technology at the University of Växjö in 1995 and has been associated with the University ever since.
Their visit will include a public presentation on how the Swedish energy system works, how biomass is used in the system, and their experiences over the past several decades. This presentation will be on Monday, February 6, at 1:30 pm, in Agora room 7-158.
Members of the media are welcome to request individual interviews via the contact information below.