JAMK’s agronomist education had its 25th anniversary. It also changed its name to the Institute of Bioeconomy.

Agricultural education activities began in Tarvaala, Saarijärvi, as early as in 1867.

College-level agronomist education began in 1988 at Tarvaala Agricultural Institute. The name was changed to the Institute of Natural Resources in 1999, when JAMK’s Institute of Natural Resources took over. More than 500 agronomists have graduated from Tarvaala in the course of the years. At the moment, over 160 students are working on their studies, also including in the adult education in Virrat. On the entire campus, there are around 400 students and 100 staff members.

The Institute of Natural Resources ad Bioenergy Development Centre merged in 2013 to form the Institute of Bioeconomy.

“Over the years, the core of agronomist education has become surrounded by extensive, business-oriented research and development activities relating to bioenergy, agriculture and environmental technology. In future, we will aim ever more actively at the international market,” says Pekka Äänismaa, Head of the Institute of Bioeconomy.

Also being planned is a joint effort between JAMK and the Vocational Education Institute of Northern Central Finland, the Bioeconomy Campus project, which aims to create innovation and new companies in the field of bioeconomy.  

“The goal is to bring together bioeconomy companies, other interest groups and actors in the Tarvaala campus area to create a network for exchanging experiences, ideas and thoughts. The network will contribute to the development of the Bioeconomy Campus and improvement of the connection between studies and working life,” says Project Manager Susanna Lahnajärvi-Kivelä.

Thanks to the two educational institutes – the Institute of Bioeconomy and the Natural Resources unit of the Vocational Education Institute of Northern Central Finland – there is plenty of competence in the area that can also be utilised by companies.

What is bioenergy?


Bioenergy is energy produced using biofuels made from renewable natural materials. Biofuels are made from pure forest and field biomass as well as some organic waste materials and by-products.

Biofuels include wood-based fuels, such as chips, pieces, pellets and sawdust, field biomass from reed canary grass, oil plants, straw, energy willow, process by-products like biogas and recycled fuels, liquid biofuels and peat.

JAMK’s Bioenergy Development Centre tests fuels using new equipment

The Institute of Bioeconomy is involved in activities like testing biofuels. The activities were boosted in late 2012 by acquiring a fuel testing system that is the only one of its kind in Finland. The new equipment can be used to test not only conventional chip and pellet raw materials but also, for example, industrial secondary flow biomasses and waste fuels. The centre is using boilers to find, for example, new raw materials for fuels.

“Boiler manufacturers now have the opportunity to ensure, including for boilers to be sold abroad , that their products can be used to burn fuels used in the target countries, such as olive stones,” says Kimmo Puolamäki, specialist at the Standardised Laboratory for Boiler Heater Testing.