PDEng programs are growing bigger

| Michaela Nesvarova

Yuchen Luo just became the first graduate of the UT’s PDEng program Maintenance, which only started two years ago. Besides this program, the University of Twente offers students a chance to get a PDEng degree in the fields of Civil Engineering, Energy & Process Technology, Healthcare Logistics, Maintenance and Robotics. How has it been going with these Post-Master programs? ‘We are growing bigger and bigger each year,’ says Peter Jansen, office manager of UT PDEng tracks.

Although the PDEng programs already exist for more than 30 years, the first new PDEng programs began at the UT in 2012. ‘The start was difficult, because nobody – neither the students, nor the companies – knew what PDEng was, but the awareness is growing and we can offer very interesting opportunities to both. At the moment, strategic collaborations between PDEng at the UT and industry include, for instance, 27 PDEng projects at Apollo Vredestein, 10 PDEng projects to prevent for excavation damage at Reggefiber, and now there is a European EFRO grant to co-finance 18 PDEng positions in smart industry,’ continues Jansen. 

Looking for new PDEng trainees

The total amount of PDEng trainees at the UT is currently 46. What does Jansen think about this number? ‘We’d like to have an annual inflow of ten trainees per program, so we’d like to have about eighty in total. Now the inflow is about six or seven trainees per program per year, with most people within the Energy & Process Technology program and no trainees following the program Healthcare Logistics.’

The UT is constantly on the lookout for new PDEng candidates. ‘Finding good students is difficult, though,’ says Jansen. ‘We need the top students and we need the ones who like to design technical solutions for and in industry. But many students here focus on scientific research and are better suited for PhD studies. We also get many applications from abroad, but graduated MSc students from the UT are favored by companies that invest in PDEng projects. Many companies specifically ask for students with a Dutch degree, because they know that the Dutch level of education is high and because in some companies all communication is in Dutch.’ 

What is pdeng?

  • The PDEng is a practical oriented professional doctorate in engineering focused on the direct needs of industry, whereas the PhD focuses on scientific research.
  • PDEng programs are tailor made, developed in consultation with companies.
  • The PDEng has a duration of 2 years
  • All PDEng trainees work directly in a company, which specifies their design project. 

First Maintenance graduate

The newest PDEng graduate, Yuchen Luo, comes from China, however. Luo received his degree yesterday and he is the very first graduate of the PDEng program Maintenance. He did his project at the company Tata Steel, where he worked on designing a ‘paint simulation and visualization tool for automotive surfaces’. In general, the PDEng program Maintenance educates technological designers with the goal of creating efficient and effective maintenance processes. As all PDEng programs, it is entirely based on real needs and issues within the industry.