The University of Groningen (UG) will start a Master’s degree programme in Mechanical Engineering in academic year 2019-2020. The degree programme, which was approved by the Higher Education Efficiency Committee earlier this year, has now been granted definitive accreditation by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders NVAO. Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen, Chair of the Groningen Engineering Center (GEC): ‘This is the culmination of over two years of preparatory work. We now want to start recruiting as soon as possible, so we can start the programme with about fifty students in September next year.’
Engineering in Groningen
The UG is taking major steps in the fields of science and engineering. The UG is the only non-technical university where students can gain degrees in engineering. Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken: ‘What a lot of people in the Netherlands don’t know is that the UG has been offering degree programmes in engineering since the late 1950s.’ In late 2016, the broad-based classical university strengthened its engineering profile by making investments and establishing the GEC. ‘The plans for an MSc programme in Mechanical Engineering are in line with our strategy to present the UG more clearly as a broad-based university that offers engineering programmes. Our Faculty of Science and Engineering offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Technology, and from next year students will also be able to come toGroningen for a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering’, Sterken rejoiced.
Shortage of engineers
The main reason for introducing the Master’s degree programme is that the business world is in great need of academically trained mechanical engineers. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science wrote in its assessment: ‘According to estimates made by ROA , the sector will be needing 19,400 FTE in the period until 2020, whereas the intake of graduates is 9,800. The bottlenecks in staffing until 2020 are therefore considerable. The calculation that was drawn up indicated that a new degree programme in Mechanical Engineering may be able to address the national need for engineers.’
Companies of various sizes in the Northern Netherlands also need engineers. Philips in Drachten, Fokker in Hoogeveen and SRON in Groningen are important partners of the UG that will serve as placement hosts for Master’s students of Mechanical Engineering. Scherpen, also Director of the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (ENTEG): ‘The new degree programme will benefit the entire Northern Netherlands. The specialization in Smart Factories, for example, was developed in collaboration with several Frisian partners, in particular the Drachten Innovation Cluster and our colleagues at Campus Fryslân.’
‘The MSc programme will form a link between renowned UG research institutes and the demands made by regional and international industries today. This will offer our students a unique combination of academic research and the application of this research in order to solve a variety of problems’, says Scherpen.
The programme will offer four different tracks, which will prepare students for different specialist fields: Advanced Instrumentation, Smart Factories, Process Design for Energy Systems and Materials for Mechanical Engineering. These four tracks have been chosen in order to meet the needs of the business world and thoroughly prepare students for the innovative field. The language of the programme will be English.
Source text: UG
Copyright photo's: RUG, photographer Bam Belloni