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Faculty of Wood Sciences
Forestry and wood industry were added to the teaching of mining and metallurgy within a few years. Wood products were needed not only for mining and metallurgy but also for new products and wooden structures. Woodworking became an important industry. The physical and mechanical characteristics of wood and wood processing gained importance in the teaching of forest utilisation. In 1923, a separate Department of Wood Technology was established. The training of wood industry engineers started in 1957, and the Faculty of Wood Industry became independent in 1962.
Today, the faculty’s education covers three main areas – engineering, information science, and applied arts – with over 1,000 students. The wood industry program is the only one in the country. Students complete projects involving planning, design, technology and sales. They gain complex technical and business skills to use in the wood industry. The Industrial Design Engineering course combines engineering and technical skills with the artistic aspects of product design. This program focuses on wood, paper and packaging design. Students in the Polymer Technology program learn about pulp and papermaking, packaging and typography. One of Hungary’s first Business Information System Management courses started in 2002, in cooperation with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Individual projects are key parts of the students’ training. Starting from the 5th semester, they participate in university and industrial projects to prepare for the diverse practical tasks they are likely to encounter. Program development, web-systems, information infrastructure management, network application and business intelligence systems are key areas of education.
A successful art training program was also established based on the technical education. Designers and architects trained in the Institute of Applied Arts enjoy national reputations. Graphics and ceramic art programs were added recently. The 4-semester English language M.Sc. course in Wood Science and Technology started in September, 2008. The highest level of education is provided by the Cziráki József Doctoral School of Wood Science and Technology. It includes six programs: (Wood Science, Wood Processing, Wooden Structures, Fibre Science, Information Technology, and Management). Since the establishment of the Doctoral School in 2001, 41 students have already graduated.
This versatile training is supported by up-to-date laboratories, computing and the necessary infrastructure. The practical training is provided by a woodworking shop, recently equipped with modern woodworking machinery, and awarded the title ‘Accredited Training Workshop’ by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2005.
There are presently 15 research laboratories at the faculty that provide a scientific basis for the education, in addition to doing scientific research. The most important R&D services are as follows:
• FAIMEI – Material and Product Testing Laboratory (wood material testing, product testing, heat treatment)
• TST – Timber Structures Testing Laboratory (structure testing: strength, stiffness, stability, durability and fatigue testing)
• Accredited Testing Laboratory for Forestry and Wood Industries (occupational safety, noise and dust exposure testing)
• Non-destructive Wood Testing Laboratory (lumber stress grading, acoustic testing of wooden structures and live trees, etc.)
• Mechatronics Laboratory (pneumatics, hydraulics, PLC, control systems)
• Wood Protection Laboratory (durability, wood preservatives, treatment technologies and fungal resistance)
This is the only wood research establishment in Hungary. Therefore it has to fulfil all R&D tasks required by the Hungarian wood industries. This work is coordinated by the Wood Science Research and Training Centre which provides high quality R&D services using the intellectual and research resources of the faculty, as well as other related research facilities. The publication of research results is facilitated by the scientific journal “Faipar” (“Wood Industry”) that publishes peer-reviewed scientific articles mostly in Hungarian, with English abstracts.
Art is also an important activity. The art instructors are all accomplished creative artists, and students have participated in many Hungarian and international competitions. Students have excellent opportunities to exhibit their artistic projects at the ‘design-centre’ associated with the Institute of Applied Arts, the ‘Museion Galeria’ in Budapest, and the Ceramic Arts Studio in Kecskemét.
The Hungarian and international relationships of the faculty are diverse. The faculty’s teaching programs cooperate with institutions of higher education mostly within the EU, while its research cooperation extends to all five continents. The staff participate in many Hungarian and international professional associations. Engineers working in the Hungarian wood industry are almost exclusively Sopron graduates. This is very helpful in keeping in touch with the industry, which is very important for the quality of the education.
The Faculty of Wood Sciences offers a wide variety of academic programs, integrating the wood-related technical training (wood industries, pulp and paper, information technology) with design art (interior, product and graphic design). In addition to education, this is one of the most important wood, paper and packaging research facilities in Central-Europe.