Graduate school hones its collaboration with industry

Chronicle · Thomas Nolte, projektledare för Array, Mälardalens högskola · 2019-03-29

At the industrial research college Array, the Automation Region Research Academy, Mälardalen University meets industry requirements for research, development and skills supply. Working with companies and organizations, we have put together a package containing courses, projects and professional tutors from the college and industry. We have also built up an extensive network to support the development of our industry postgraduate students and participating organisations.

An industrial research academy is a professional programme for postgraduate students around a single main subject. Doctoral students are employed in a company and conduct their research there as part of their service. For example, it might concern a person with a major technical interest looking for a skills-related challenge or who has skills in a particular segment in the company and wishes to increase his or her knowledge. Postgraduate work can be done at practically any time, but an industrial research Academy takes a comprehensive approach toward a focused main subject, in this case automation.

Automation is a broad field that is not necessarily classified as a classic research topic. It embraces many different technology-related postgraduate study subjects and skills, both from academia and industry. Through Array, Mälardalen University not only seeks to demonstrate skills and breadth within automation, but also to take further steps toward our goal of being the Swedish seat of learning that is best at collaboration. On the business side, there is also a demand to establish a distinctive profile of the University's and region's expertise, and to jointly highlight our strengths within automation.

Array will admit up to 20 postgraduate students, of which 14 have already been admitted and begun their work. Under the initiative, we are also launching a number of postgraduate courses and activities linked to automation that are highly relevant for many of the University's other postgraduate students. So, in addition to our 20 Array postgraduate students, we also expect the University's and the region's other postgraduate technology students to benefit from this initiative.

Thanks to Array's open structure, it's possible for additional stakeholders to take part in the initiative, e.g. companies can join with their own postgraduate students under certain conditions. The companies currently participating are ABB, Skanska, Volvo CE, Kanthal, Alten and Bombardier. RISE SICS Västerås and MITC are also involved in several of the projects. Findings will be made known through e.g. Automation Region's network by means of various activities and communications initiatives.

Automation Region has a world-class network spanning a great number of automation companies and conducts well-established activities such as breakfast meetings, conferences and workshops. It is a forum that does not seek to reinvent things; instead, we can work together to use our resources wisely to achieve results. Accordingly, Array will hold its annual conference at the same time as the Orton Automation Summit, which I'm very much looking forward to.

Thomas Nolte
Professor of computer science and project manager for Array, Mälardalen University