Process-based modelling in bioscience engineering

LBRTI2102  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Process-based modelling in bioscience engineering
5.0 credits
30.0 h + 15.0 h


Basic courses in mathematics (LMAT1111, LBIR1200) and some knowledge of Matlab (LBIR1204, LBIR1305).

Main themes

This module will help students to develop a thorough knowledge of the different steps required to setup a model and learn how to use simulation tools. The students will be able to setup a complete modelling approach in order to forecast and anticipate the behaviour of complex systems. This module considers the propagation of errors and uncertainties in models and hence allows estimating the risk associated to a particular decision.


a.     Contribution de l'activité au référentiel AA (AA du programme)



2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4

6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.5, 6.8


b.     Formulation spécifique pour cette activité des AA du programme


By the end of the LBRTI2102 module, students will be able to:


·   Name, describe, explain the theoretical concepts related to the mechanistic approach to analyse and model environmental processes;

·   Explain mathematical concepts and use computational tools to model the space-time dynamics of these processes;

·   Use these concepts and tools in an operational fashion in order to model the processes that drive realistic environmental systems in the context of an individual project;

·   Present a detailed justification of the methodological choices that have been made to analyse the system under study;

·   Write a brief report, with a solid discussion based on the modelling results and appropriately illustrated with graphs and charts, using accurate and appropriate scientific vocabulary.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.


The course covers the following elements and illustrates them with examples modelled with Matlab:

1.     Time-dependent population models.

2.     1D and 2D transport models and numerical schemes to discretize advection-diffusion-reaction equations.

3.     Model application in hydrodynamics, surface runoff, ecology and epidemiology.

Cellular automata models and their application to model the dynamics of epidemics and invasive plant species.

Teaching methods

Teaching is based on a two-hour lecture each week. The lecture format is very "hands-on" with many practical examples and illustrations. Students are encouraged to take their laptop in the classroom. Practical sessions with a research assistant are also scheduled to help the students apply the concepts presented during the lectures.

Evaluation methods

Individual report on a personal project to be handed in by the end of term and a written exam during the exam session. 

Other information

Lecture notes are written in English. The course is taught in English.

Online resources

Moodle course site with all the lecture notes and many Matlab scripts.


All the lecture notes and the Matlab scripts used during the lectures are made available on Moodle.

There is a list with recommended books and scientific papers on Moodle

Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Program title
Master [120] in Environmental Bioengineering

Master [120] in Agricultural Bioengineering

Master [120] in Forests and Natural Areas Engineering

Master [120] in Chemistry and Bioindustries