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Integrating Research and Education in Engineering Design Programs

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Design throughout the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Martin Edin Grimheden Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

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Martin Edin Grimheden is an associate professor in Mechatronics at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, and head of the Mechatronics and Embedded Control Systems Division. Martin Edin Grimheden is also Program Director of the KTH Degree Program in Mechanical Engineering.

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In several countries in Europe, traditional engineering professional degree programs of four to six years have been transformed to better adapt to the European BSc+MSc system to enable international exchange, flexibility and international recognition. In 2003, a number of pilot programs were launched at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The five year professional engineering programs were divided in two parts; a BSc and MSc part, while still keeping the professional focus. The overall learning goals of higher education are set by the Swedish Higher Education Authority, who specifies learning goals for all programs and degrees. The five year professional engineering program fulfils requirements of three degrees; the professional degree, a BSc degree and a MSc degree. The professional degree is recognized by industry as an engineering degree, where the programs prepare students for engineering work, and key differences between the engineering degree and the MSc degree is that the engineering degree includes professional skills and competencies such as industrial engineering and management, communication skills, ethics etc. The MSc degree is an academic degree mainly preparing students for a future academic career. All three degrees require a degree project, a thesis project. Thesis projects for the professional engineering degree are typically engineering projects performed at a company, in industry, with a realistic and relevant project assigned by the company. When introducing the MSc degree, the university introduced requirements on scientific content, approach and method and academic rigor. To facilitate for students and industrial partners, a model has been introduced where the sets of requirements are grouped into two: engineering skills and scientific skills. A MSc thesis project requires scientific skills and an engineering thesis project requires both engineering skills and scientific skills. We further present a model for how the engineering skills can be integrated with research skills in one of three modes: where an engineering thesis project is based on research and results in new research (1), where engineering thesis projects are performed following a scientific process (2) or where engineering thesis projects are performed as engineering work and evaluated using scientific methods (3). In conclusion, the integration of research and engineering has been studied in the above cases. We show that the integration can be done, that the various sets of requirements needs to be communicated clearly, not the least to industry representatives, but that it is indeed possible to perform the integration synergistically.

Edin Grimheden, M. (2016, June), Integrating Research and Education in Engineering Design Programs Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27318

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