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Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck
Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck View original picture , opens in new tab/window

The Master Programme in Engineering that questions tomorrow's sustainable production

Published: 28 January 2022

Already today there are technical solutions with automation, robotisation and digitalisation for advanced production, and in the future, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will be central within the industry. But what in the new technology should be applied to give the best effect of a rapid transition towards increased sustainability?

The role of the future’s engineers is to give power to the transformation of the industry, both for small and large companies, regardless of branch. The development of circular material flows, often facilitated by digitalization, reduces waste and increases recycling at all levels. But how will this work? How can we develop circular production flows in industries where production flows often are global?

The transition to sustainability is a large and complex task and therefore this new programme in sustainable production at Luleå University of Technology is needed. Even though the programme is new, it is based on the existing Master Programme in Mechanical Engineering and the specialization production design within the Master Programme in Industrial Design Engineering.

The programme will benefit the business community already from year one, as our new students will work visionarily with selected companies in different industries. The students are given the task of sketching out what future production might look like in a span of 10 to 20 years, something that can provide companies with new, creative perspectives and ideas. It centers around sustainable production for, among other things, food, travel, clothing, entertainment and people’s and society’s other needs. The programme also studies how industrial production affects biological ecosystems.

Tomorrow's problems require new solutions

To find solutions to problems and challenges, we cannot only rummage through old tool boxes. Tomorrow's solutions can be combinations of old wisdom and the latest technology. In the programme, classic engineering subjects and methods are combined with a problem-based learning process. This provides the conditions needed for innovation and creativity which are a must to challenge the existing problems with new solutions. It is immensely valuable when students and companies work together from the first semester and throughout the program.

Each semester ends with a results conference, where the latest research in the field is presented together with the students 'and companies' intriguing answers to the challenges.

Thus, as a student, you receive the traditional content of a master's degree in mechanical engineering, combined with design thinking, innovation work as well as thorough practice at communicating ideas. Throughout the programme, you will come to know industry representatives and learn from their practical examples and experiences. Furthermore, the integrated learning with large project courses provides close collaborations with other students in an innovative environment that supports entrepreneurs. Here, as a student, you will play an important part in the exciting northern region, where the focus is strongly fixated on sustainable industrial change.

International contacts

Throughout the programme, we also encourage an international outlook and exchange studies. Already during the establishment of the program, we have collaborated with strategic contacts at other universities, both in Sweden and internationally, such as Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico and the University of Zagreb in Croatia.

With the university's longstanding tradition of international exchanges, there are all opportunities necessary for a semester, an exchange year or a Master’s project abroad.

We hope that these strong networks in academia and industry, in Sweden and internationally, will provide our students and participating companies with the ability to effectively contribute to the rapid transition to a sustainable and resilient industry.

 

Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck, Chaired Professor Product Innovation, part of the development team for the innovative education programme Sustainable Production