In the academic year 2019-2020, the University of Groningen will start a Master’s degree programme in Mechanical Engineering. The engineer Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen, who presides the Groningen Engineering Center (GEC), has referred to the programme as crowning three years of preparatory work. The graduate track ‘Smart Factories’ has been developed jointly with the Drachten Innovation Cluster and the UG faculty, Campus Fryslân. Master’s students can attend their second year of this track in Drachten. The UG, the city of Smallingerland, the Province of Friesland and the Drachten Innovation Cluster will sign an agreement to this effect on Friday 15 February. This will take place during the fifth anniversary celebration of the Drachten cluster of high-tech businesses.
The UG is hard at work in order to expand in the area of science and engineering. The new Master’s degree programme forms part of a broader range of technical studies offered by the University. Many students are not aware of this, says President of the Board of the University Prof. Jouke de Vries, even though the University was already granting engineering titles decades ago. “We are working to change this, partly thanks to the cooperation with the businesses participating in the Drachten Innovation Cluster.”
The Master’s degree programme in Mechanical Engineering will fall under the Faculty of Science and Engineering and offer tracks in ‘Advanced Instrumentation’ and ‘Smart Factories’. In 2020, the tracks ‘Process Design for Energy Systems’ and ‘Materials for Mechanical Engineering’ will be added to this. After completing the Master’s degree programme, graduates will be granted the title ‘ir.’ (engineer). Students of the ‘Smart Factories’ track now have the opportunity to do their second year of the programme in the high-tech innovation hub of the town of Drachten, both attending lectures and conducting research. “They will receive their education in collaboration with high-tech businesses,” says De Vries, “to learn how to design intelligent, coherent and tailor-made production processes for the factories of the future”.
The business cluster in Drachten is working together with all senior secondary vocational schools and universities of applied sciences in the North, to create specific degree programmes and attractive internships for those with technical talent. Cooperation with the UG is a new addition to these efforts. In the words of chair Binne Visser: “By allowing academic students to come to Drachten to complete part of their Master’s programme in Mechanical Engineering, the students will be able to more easily connect with the high-tech small businesses in the area. Using the means of the Innovation Cluster, we would like to contribute to this process, so that students can see that you do not need to look outside of the Northern Netherlands to pursue an interesting and challenging technical career.”
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