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University and Industry together to train professionals in the field of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

08 July 2020
The introduction of new technologies in the manufacturing industry, such as advanced material processing, cyber-physical systems or artificial intelligence, is contributing to accelerate the development and modernization of the Industry, making it more efficient, flexible and competitive. However, their integration also brings with it the need to adapt the training of specialists, in order to better prepare them for this change and, in particular, for the current context of innovation and open science.

Following the current trend for collaboration between companies and teaching and research institutions in the training of professionals, the M-NEST-I and M-NEST-RIS projects aim to implement the operational conditions that will allow these entities and individual users to explore, experiment and to qualify in an autonomous and intuitive way to work with this type of technologies in the most varied production and innovation scenarios, particularly in technically demanding industrial sectors with high added value.

In Portugal, the Factory Unit of the M-NEST network will be implemented at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), and will be tested at the facilities of FEUP, the Institute of Systems and Computers Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) and from the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI), the latter being responsible for coordinating both projects. "These projects envision the creation of the European M-NEST network and intend to support the training of students, teachers, researchers and industrial technicians with the necessary tools to build the European industrial community of the future", says Cláudio Santos, INEGI researcher and coordinator of the project M-NEST-I.

It is estimated that, by 2022, these projects will train more than 500 trainees. "The two M-NEST projects will act as pilots of the network's activities, so at this stage, the trainees will be selected by the project partners, but the goal is that very soon other people and companies can directly benefit from the innovative training models that are being created ”, explains Margarida Machado, INEGI researcher and coordinator of the M-NEST-RIS project.

The European network M-NEST will provide a wide range of training activities focused on the most advanced processing and production technologies, and support for academic education, advanced training, R&D, technology transfer and dissemination, tailored to different audiences and spaces of interest. training (from the classroom to the factory). The network should also provide access (virtual and face-to-face) to high-quality learning materials related to the technologies in focus, contributing to make training in the area of ​​Advanced Manufacturing Technologies a stimulating experience for a wider audience.

These two pilot projects are funded by EIT Manufacturing and, in addition to the national partners (FEUP, INEGI and INESC TEC) common to both projects, they also count on the participation of ENSAM - Arts et Métiers Paris Tech (France), from Aalto University (Finland) and SUPSI - University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (Switzerland), in the M-NEST-I project, and CTU - Czech Technical University (Czech Republic), University of Tartu (Estonia) and LMS - Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation of University of Patras (Greece) in the M-NEST-RIS project.