Students in the new Mechanical Engineering master’s programme will spend the second year of their studies getting hands on experience at the Innovation Cluster Drachten in Friesland.
The master’s programme, which was developed by chair of the Groningen Engineering Centre, professor Jacquelien Scherpen, will start in the 2019/2020 academic year with two tracks: Advanced Instrumentation and Smart Factories. In 2020, two more tracks will be added: Process Design for Energy Systems, and Materials for Mechanical Engineering.
The University of Groningen, the municipality of Smallingerland, the province of Friesland and the Innovation Cluster Drachten will formally sign an agreement for the degree programme on Friday morning, which marks the fifth anniversary since the cluster opened.
Learning on the spot
The Smart Factories track of the programme was developed in collaboration with Innovation Cluster Drachten, and students in this track will spend the second year of their studies in the High Tech Innovation Hub in Drachten following courses in a new lecture hall and carrying out research on site. “They will get more hands on experience with all these companies that are working with big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, and all of that is happening in Drachten”, university president Jouke de Vries says. “The idea is for students to be able to work together with these companies and learn on the spot.”
De Vries says that cultivating partnerships with business hubs like the one in Drachten and other knowledge centres in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland is part of furthering positioning the RUG as “the university of north”. “A lot of companies want to work together with the University of Groningen”, De Vries says. “Of course there will always be fundamental research and interdisciplinary research, but innovation and impact on society is also very important. There are some challenges in the northern part of the country, and we have to work together to solve them.”
What is president De Vries’ vision for the university and the wider north in the coming years? The Northern Times will be publishing an in-depth interview with professor De Vries in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.