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University of Groningen and companies working on the smart industries of the future

10 June 2015

The University of Groningen and companies in the Northern Netherlands are joining forces to design the smart product creation and service provision (smart industries) of the future. In consultation with companies, the University has drawn up a research agenda (academic roadmap) designed to introduce more coherence in the various partnerships between the University and the business world.

The academic roadmap presents themes concerning current and future research in the field of smart industries. The partnership will cover the integration of the newest developments in business and economics and in engineering and the natural sciences. In addition, the agenda opens up opportunities for further collaboration with research streams in the social sciences, computer sciences and other research fields that can help to strengthen the smart industries profile.

Stimulating employment opportunities

The University wants to inspire students of various Master’s degree programmes to pay attention to the smart industries theme, for example to students in Industrial Engineering and Management, Supply Chain Management, Technology and Operations Management and Computer Science.

Everything revolves around digitization

In smart industries, everything revolves around digitization – products become more intelligent, processes become self-correcting. All of the players in the production and services industries (consumers, companies, suppliers) will be linked via the Internet of Things and will continuously exchange information. The University sees research challenges in the fields of business innovation, advanced production and logistics processes (self-regulating and controlled in real time), agile demand-driven production and service provision (tailored work through efficient processes that can adapt to changing circumstances) and integrated intelligence (design and application of cyberphysics and the Internet of Things).

More coherence in collaboration

Jacquelien Scherpen, Professor of Discrete Technology and Production Automation and Director of the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Iris Vis, Professor of Industrial Engineering at the Faculty of Economics and Business, are the driving force behind the academic roadmap. ‘The University, and in this context the Faculties of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Economics and Business, has and maintains many important contacts with the business world. For example, we are members of the High Tech Systems and Materials consortium (HTSM Noord-Nederland), which includes Philips, SRON, Astron, Fokker and many SMEs; we are involved in the Drachten innovation cluster; and we participate in the logistics top sector. The academic agenda will create more coherence in these partnerships.’

Rob Karsmakers of Philips Drachten adds, ‘We were closely involved in the creation of the academic agenda for Smart Industries and are delighted that the University of Groningen wants the best possible links with the business world.’

Philips sponsors chair

The collaboration between the business world and the University has also led to the appointment in June 2015 of Jan Post of Philips Consumer Lifestyle Drachten as Honorary Professor of Digital Fabrication at the Engineering and Technology Institute of the University of Groningen. He is the driving force behind the national HTSM theme manufacturing and mechatronics and one of the initiators of the roadmap.

Academic roadmap

The academic roadmap contains several research themes that can be organized into four clusters:

·         business innovation: technological innovations go hand in hand with changes in business models. With regard to smart industries, the University will be taking the initiative to develop new strategic business models.

·         advanced production processes: robust, self-regulating and regulated in real time. These advanced production processes need to be developed, optimized, produced and implemented within production and service provision environments.

·         agile demand-driven production: technological innovations make it possible to provide tailored solutions through efficient processes that can adapt to changing circumstances and a wide range of products and services. New methods and technologies will be developed resulting in the efficient creation of a wide range of products and services. The aim is to find ways to reduce the time needed for efficient product and process design. Linked to this, the changing role of the working population will be studied.

·         integrated intelligence: innovative products, services and production processes result in and require huge amounts of data. The main challenge is how to manage and implement this data in the best way possible. In the light of technological and business challenges, the focus of the research will be on the design and implementation of cyberphysics and the Internet of Things.

More information

Prof. J.M.A. Scherpen, Director of ENTEG, j.m.a.scherpen@rug.nl , +31503638791,

Prof. I.F.A. Vis, Operations, Director of the Master’s degree programmes in Supply Chain Management and Technology and Operations Management, i.f.a.vis@rug.nl +31503637491

Last modified:09 July 2015 2.43 p.m.
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