The Faculty of Science and Engineering wants to set up a two-year doctorate track together with the corporate world. Such an ‘engineering doctorate’ is in line with the development of technical knowledge the faculty is aiming for.
At this moment, the faculty is preparing two versions: autonomous systems and sustainable process design. Each track should offer room for twelve doctorate students per year, who will be employed at a company for six months and follow their study programme at the UG for the other half of the year.
‘UG has the extraordinary combination of fundamental science and engineering within one faculty, dean Joost Frenken says. ‘This is unique for the Dutch science faculties. And of course, at the UG we also have the other disciplines that a general university offers, which allows us to give our people a broader perspective. You don’t find all that at a technical university.’
Candidates may be employed by either the UG or the participating company. In the first case, the company pays the university 75,000 euros. If a company brings in its own employees, it only pays 10,000 euros. After the candidate has been awarded their doctoral degree, the UG receives a bonus, which is likely to amount to 60,000 euros, the faculty calculated.
‘Companies really want this programme’, dean Joost Frenken stressed in the faculty council. ‘Clearly, it serves a need.’ The financing of the project, however, still forms a problem. In the first few years, the costs will still be higher than the revenue – an annual 800,000 euros. Which is problematic, because due to the skyrocketing energy costs, FSE is already rapidly burning through its reserves.
‘We talked to the executive board about that’, says Frenken. ‘And they were clear. We should not reduce our ambitions because of the financial situation. They promised to take care of part of the costs, and we’ll do the rest.’
The first engineering doctorate students at the UG are due to start in 2024.