Big drive on research with industrial benefit in focus

Aug 27, 2012 | Research/Cooperation

Eight companies and 14 doctoral students form part of a new, seven-year research school in embedded systems at Mälardalen University.

According to its financier, the Knowledge Foundation, it is “a corporate research school of very high industrial relevance”. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, too, underlines the benefit of close cooperation between doctoral students and companies.

But at Mälardalen University they have realised the importance of cooperation with companies.

- A good flow from the University to the companies is needed; otherwise there is a risk of academia and industry going their separate ways, says Ivica Crnovic, Project Manager of the University’s new industrial research school ITS EASY. During the last year he has been working with getting together companies for the research school, and then in consultation with the companies has arrived at interesting, needs-driven research projects for the doctoral students within the areas of software technology, robotics and design.

GIVES ADDED VALUE IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

ABB, Bombardier, Ericsson and Volvo are a few of the larger companies participating in ITS EASY. But even lesser ones are there, such as the Västerås company CrossControl, which develops and supplies electronics- and software components for control systems in forestry machinery and other vehicles in critical environments.

- We have had close cooperation for several years, in different forms, with Mälardalen University. Their research specialisation and technological depth in combination with industrially-oriented ambition suits us extremely well and gives us added value both directly and indirectly in our product development, says Ken Lindfors, Development Manager at CrossControl. He continues:

- The research school is a way for us to be able to take in competent workforce and get direct returns for the doctoral students’ competence and research in our product development projects. Further, it has a positive influence on our engineers, who get new perspectives on technologies and methods.

The 14 doctoral students – of which around half now remain to be recruited – will be able to work both at the University and at their respective companies.

- As far as the University is concerned it is very positive having doctoral students who are in direct contact with industry. This allows our other students and researchers as well to get an insight into, and can work with, projects that industry really needs, Ivica Crnovic concludes.

Read the survey from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise