Biorenewables research program includes study in Europe

Biorenewables research program includes study in Europe

Iowa State University graduate student Kerry Campbell used an educational exchange program to study and research biorenewables, bioproducts and food processing while living in the south of France.

“The research ended up being an entire chapter of my dissertation,” Campbell said. “Also, I presented my research at a conference last spring, where I met someone who passed my resume on to someone who ended up making me a job offer. So, you could really argue that participating in this exchange program is what led me to my current career.”


Kerry Campbell competed in a bike race during his study exchange in France.

He was one of four Iowa State students who were accepted by the EU-US Academic Exchange Program, which provided educational opportunities related to biorenewables and bioproducts.

Campbell spent five months in the spring and summer of 2008 working at the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse conducting research to develop a water-based process for extracting oil from sunflower seed. He earned a doctoral degree in chemical engineering in January 2010.

He made the most of his experience, personally as well as professionally.

Campbell took part in a bike race on a course in the Pyrenees Mountains that has been part of the Tour de France. He and his wife, Hilary, also hiked to Lake Oo in the Pyrenees with a group from his lab in Toulouse.

Besides the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse, students can choose to study at the University of Graz in Austria or Ghent University in Belgium.

Students in agricultural-, science- and engineering-based fields have participated in the program. Research projects have included studying the use of algae for biofuels, biorenewables resources in nutrition, biorenewables economics, and the legal aspects of biorenewables.

At Iowa State the program is coordinated by food science professor Larry Johnson, who is director of the BioCentury Research Farm and the Center for Crops Utilization Research, and agricultural and biosystems engineering associate professor Raj Raman, who serves as director of graduate education of the Biorenewable Resources and Technology graduate program, director of the university education program for the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals and associate director of education for the Office of Biorenewables Programs.

“The program is a tremendous opportunity for seniors and graduate students to have an in-depth international experience related to biorenewable resources or food processing. We are fortunate to have excellent collaborators in Ghent, Toulouse and Graz who help ensure that our students find great labs in which to work,” said Raman.

“The students who participate come back with a new perspective about education and the world — they are forever changed. International experiences and global perspectives are unique qualifications that employers look for when making hiring decisions,” said Johnson.

Deadlines for applying include March 1 for summer semesters, April 1 for fall semesters and Oct. 1 for spring semesters. The program is open to seniors and graduate students who are U.S. citizens.

Application information is available at: http://www.biorenewexchange.iastate.edu