The Department of Biomaterial Sciences and Technology has been offering undergraduate education since 2003. Currently the Department offers a Bachelor of Science in Wood science and technology. This degree programme was reviewed in 2007 and 2014 in line with the University Strategic Plan 2014-2018 and, to be in tandem with forest industries and business, to this extent the Department works very closely with commerce and industry. The degree programmes offered by the Department focus on building a strong foundation in basic sciences, wood sciences, wood processing, timber engineering, joinery and furniture construction, pulp and paper technology, bioenergy technologies, biofuels, environmental management, as well as in entrepreneurship and management of forest industries. The cohort of graduates being produced will help optimize the utilization of wood and non-wood products from plantation and indigenous forests in Zambia and the region. The Department boasts of a state-of-the-art sawmill at Chati Plantation block in Lufwanyama District, where students regularly do their wood harvesting and sawmilling practical work and research. The Department taps into the good will of several organizations, among them National Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Zambia Bureau of Standards, Zambezi Paper Mills Ltd, Wood Processing Industries Ltd, Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Plc, Rainland Timbers Ltd, Copperbelt Forestry Company Ltd, KroupWood Company Ltd, Forestry Department and many more for industrial placement of students.
The Department currently hosts:
1. Bachelor of Science in Wood Science and Technology
2. Bachelor of Science in Bioenergy Science.
All undergraduate degree programmes are only offered on full-time basis at the moment.
The Department is additionally offering postgraduate in Renewable Materials & Energy:
Postgraduate degree programmes are being offered on full-time, part-time and distance learning modes. For admission to a postgraduate programme, a candidate must possess a first degree in related field from a reputable and recognised institution
Research and Teaching Interests
Research in the Department is coordinated by a senior faculty member under three sub-themes, namely: Biochemicals and energy, Green construction materials and, Biomaterials value-addition, entrepreneurship and marketing. Great strides have been made to establish partnerships, to foster research and consultancy. The research projects range from wood quality and wood coatings performance, biodegradation of wooden poles, Xylarium and wood database for timber species in Zambia and, bioaccumulation of chemical elements in trees.
Availability of research equipment which is housed in the Department and other university laboratories fosters quality research which has resulted in presentation of results in scientific fora and publication in international peer-reviewed journals. Some of the state-of-the-art-research equipment items are: Quanta Scanning Electron Microscope for wood anatomy and microbial degradation analysis, LINTABTM for tree ring research, and Testometric Universal Testing Machine for quantification of mechanical properties of wood.