On the webinar "Academia and economic resilience: What role do academics play?", Joaquín Roca González, coordinator of Biomedical Engineering Studies in the UPCT presented the good practice “ETSII – UPCT: 120 years of technology, innovation and service for citizens and enterprises” in which the difficulties of the companies in having a rapid technological transformation were addressed. Some reasons to this problem are the complexity of this transformation or the fact that industrial hardware and machinery integration are not covered by digital transformation solution providers.
The UPCT proposes the creation of specific degrees and the integration of Industry 4.0 in the study programmes of several technical studies. They created a master’s degree on Industry 4.0 and a forthcoming option in dual training, starting in 2022, built on a three-fulcrum scheme: the academia (ETSII - UPCT), Industry 4.0 facilitators (IDEA Ingeniería) and local companies (SME’s and others). This master’s degree has been an idea that started building up in 2018, and has since encountered many challenges, such as, for example, the exponential growth of technology, which made it a bit difficult to catch up sometimes in order to keep being competitive, its cost with no guarantee whatsoever what the benefits would be or the lack of human resources specialised in digital transformation in companies, among others. However, now the model has been designed, other universities and study centres could launch similar programmes in the future, as the costs and the benefits are much clearer now, and the process of designing it might be simpler as there is already a model to be used as guide.
Some of the innovations of this new study programme which make it so interesting are, for example, that the students enrolled in these studies will carry out an internship within a company for the whole duration of the master’s programme, which will increase the employability of the students and, at the same time, they will end up the programme with a more practical and realistic formation and approach to the labour market. Also, the studies will be carried out in sequential order, instead of the classical parallel schedule, that will intensify the programme immersion. The project-based courses will be evaluated with real-life projects related to digital transformation requirements at the company where each internship is taking place, which will also translate in results for the company. This makes the collaboration even more profitable and appealing to the company, which may also translate in a job offer for the students.