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Home » Education » Rethinking engineering education in Ireland through industry academia collaboration

Dr Gerard Corkery

Head of Department STEM, Director of REEdl

Professor Joseph Walsh

Head of the School of STEM, Munster Technological University

It has become globally recognised that our universities must adapt to the world they live in. Therefore new collaborations are needed to help bridge the gap between industry and academia.

The adaption of academia is even more true in the era of digitisation and Industry 4.0 where universities are under increased pressure to deliver engineers of the future who can solve problems we don’t even know about yet. Against this backdrop the Rethinking Education in Ireland (REEdI) project was founded.

Industry-academic collaboration

REEdI is a consortium of national and international HEI’s, industry stakeholders and world class research centres. Munster Technological University (MTU) are the lead university of the project with University of Limerick, Harper Adams and Charles Sturt University as the academic partners.

Through the project, MTU has developed a innovate engineering qualification. This unique qualification sees industry and academia collaborate to deliver the Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, the first of its kind qualification in Ireland.

Students will get to learn with immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.

Making a tangible difference

The project has been developed in collaboration with industry partners across a variety of sectors such as pharma, medtech, automotive, electronic, advanced manufacturing and agritech. According to Denis Collins, CEO, ActionZero industry, government and academia must collaborate efficiently to address the climate crisis. “Initiatives like this will develop the skills we need to make a tangible difference. We will also see relevant clusters and high-quality regional jobs from these collaborations.”

Through this course, students will get to learn with immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. The four year degree programme will be equally divided between time spent in an academic setting and time spent in industry. It complements academic studies by providing another way of learning outside the lecture theatre during work placement in industry.

Three way relationship

The student engineer will spend the first two years on campus and the final two-years at a host industry partner such as Stryker, Analog Devices, ThermoFisher, Astellas, Johnson and Johnson amongst other. They will gain the skill set and personal attributes an employer looks for in a graduate engineer. The three-way relationship between student, university and industry is core to the approach on which the programme is designed.

Solving the problems of tomorrow

Engineering graduates of the programme will have the knowledge, experience and skillset to work across a diversity of sectors, to address the shortage of engineering talent and continuously improve and solve complex engineering problems.

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