University-Industry Cooperation and Student Driven Projects: A Model for Educating Design Engineers

DS 62: Proceedings of E&PDE 2010, the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - When Design Education and Design Research meet ..., Trondheim, Norway, 02.-03.09.2010

Year: 2010
Editor: Boks W; Ion, W; McMahon, C and Parkinson B
Author: Håkansson, Anders; Holmqvist, Bengt
Page(s): 414-419


Cooperating with industry to create “real life” projects for students is a 30 year old tradition at the Department of Human Work Sciences at Luleå University of Technology (LTU). This paper describes
the approach to university-industry projects at LTU, illustrates benefits and problems in the interaction between students, industry and the university. The students´ practice their abilities in product design and project management. This is also a confirmation of the demand for their education in the industry. By being able to practice their future profession strengthens the student’s confidence and gives them a feeling of being competent. During the project the students are given good opportunities to start building their professional network. The projects also act as key features in their CVs and portfolios. These projects serve as a display window for the MSc program Industrial Design Engineering at the Department of Human Work Sciences when recruiting new students as well as for marketing the design engineers to the industry. When employed in the industry, design engineers from LTU often hold key positions where they are excellent contacts for establishing new collaboration. Often these former students contact the university with proposals for cooperation. During the years, many student projects have developed into collaborative research projects. In this way we have created a self generating mechanism where new collaboration is created with former students who themselves have worked in these kinds of projects during their own education. A win-win-win situation is created where university, industry and students all benefit from this.

Keywords: Design engineer, cap stone course, university-industry cooperation, product development


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