“Sustainable construction is becoming more and more important – wood engineers are very sought-after!”

29.09.2021 The keen sportsman from Valais, Lukas Furrer, is currently attending the Master of Science in Wood Technology programme at Bern University of Applied Sciences in Biel. When he’s not playing football, cycling, hiking or snowboarding, you’ll find the wood lover, who now lives in the canton of Bern, in his small home workshop. After graduation he’d like to work for a timber construction engineering firm focusing on statics and structural engineering.

Lukas Furrer

Why did you opt for this programme?

After completing my bachelor degree here at BFH-AHB, I found my thirst for knowledge still hadn’t been quenched. The Master of Science (MSc) in Wood Technology programme and the Complex Timber Structures specialisation gave me the opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge. I was particularly attracted by the prospect of tackling extensive case studies from start to finish with experts in the field. Working with international students from many different countries – which has also allowed me to brush up my language skills – was a huge bonus too in my eyes.

Which three keywords would you use to describe the programme?

I’d say interactive, international and practice-based.

What are its major benefits?

The fact that experts with real-world experience do most of the lecturing and share their valuable knowledge with students is hugely beneficial. Working on projects with fellow students from different countries is also extremely rewarding.

What did you particularly enjoy about the degree programme?

In terms of the programme as a whole, I really enjoyed the lively discussions between students and with the lecturers. Everyone is very committed and there’s a great atmosphere. From a technical perspective, I loved working on the Cambridge Mosque case study where we designed a complex timber structure from scratch in small groups, created computer models for assembly, produced the static calculations and received various input from experts who played key roles in the planning and implementation of the actual project.

What’s most appealing about BFH and the Biel campus as a place of study?

What I particularly appreciate at BFH is the chance to work in an interdisciplinary environment. Prospective wood engineers and architects work side-by-side on projects and benefit from each other’s knowledge and different approaches. The course is heavily geared towards application, which means, for instance, you get the chance to do research in the lab yourself for your project assignments.

The friendly atmosphere at the Biel campus is great. Everyone knows everyone and there’s lively exchange between students and lecturers. The support is fantastic and there’s always somebody to ask if you have a question.

How can you apply what you’ve learned in everyday working life?

I’m a part-time research assistant in the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Engineering area of competence at BFH in Biel. I’ve learned to use various programs on the course which I can apply in my research activities. In parallel to the degree programme, I’m also able to broaden my specialist knowledge even further and apply insights from research in lectures or projects.

What are your plans and goals after graduation?

After graduating, I’ll look for a job at a wood engineering firm where I’d like to focus on statics and structural engineering. There’s strong demand for wood engineers, as sustainable construction is an increasingly key issue and wood is a highly versatile construction material. I’m already relishing the prospect of fresh challenges.

Got any pointers for future students?

Be receptive to new ideas and inquisitive. Take the opportunity to ask questions during the programme, as you’re the one who’ll have to come up with the answers later on.

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