New Saxion master's degree programme in Robotics Systems Engineering

New Saxion master’s degree program in Robotics Systems Engineering

Starting next academic year, Saxion will be offering a master’s degree programme in Robotics Systems Engineering. This new master’s degree programme at university of applied sciences level was developed at the request of and in conjunction with the corporate community and is the first of its kind to focus specifically at the robotics side of system engineering.

Now, in 2021, we find ourselves in the fourth industrial revolution, a time in which technological developments succeed each other at lightning speed and in which the demand for increasingly complex and autonomous systems is continually growing. And that translates into a need for people who understand these systems, according to lecturer Dirk Bekke, who developed the new master’s program together with the Mechatronics research group. ‘The corporate community has identified an increasing demand for system engineers who are capable of managing the design process both contentwise and in terms of the requisite technological expertise. As it stands today, these people are trained by the companies themselves, but the upshot of this is that the innovators of the future will always be looking at things from the perspective of the company that took them under their wing. We believe that there are many opportunities here. There is a distinct need for qualified system engineers who can deal with varying business contexts and assignments and are able to choose the right method on the basis of their professional expertise.’


Demand translated into training

That need is confirmed by Wim Spit, operational manager of Riwo Engineering. His company, along with other leading companies such as Demcon, Voortman Steel Machinery and VIRO Engineering, are affiliated with TValley, the engineering platform that collaborated on the development of the master’s degree program. ‘In our branch of industry, we are always on the lookout for inquisitive designers who can take on a leadership role in the development and application of the latest generation of intelligent robotic systems. For this, we need students with a broad knowledge of modern robotics technology and system engineering skills who can think from a technical as well as from a business process perspective. Together with Saxion, we have translated this need into a master’s degree programin Robotics System Engineering. It is fantastic to be able to contribute to the development of a study program like this as a technology company.’


Unique study program

The master’s degree programis unique in the Netherlands. This is not only because it is the only technical training program in the country with an emphasis on robotics; it is mainly because of the practical orientation and the fact that we put system engineering first in combination with robotics innovation,’ explains project manager Floor Campfens. ‘This fits in very well with the regional business community, which is primarily made up out of companies in the manufacturing industry and where they are always seeking innovative solutions for production processes. We give students a lot of hands-on work, on a project basis and in cooperation with the business community. The difference with other master’s degree programs in technology and engineering disciplines is that we educate people who can apply new technologies and have a solid understanding of how their knowledge can be applied.’


Coolest job ever

Students who have obtained their master’s degree can start in an engineering role and, based on experience and ambition, grow into robotic or other types of system engineers. A position that requires a good number of flight hours, Spit realises. ‘We do not expect motivated master’s students who start working at Riwo to begin as system engineers,’ he says.  Still, he is a little jealous of these students. ‘You take on a guiding role in the development of new innovations and new concepts in robotics, both contentwise and in terms of the requisite technological expertise. The study program focuses on moving systems and you learn to supervise electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, mechatronics engineers, and ICT staff. Students enrolled in the master’s program will also be involved in assignments for various companies, talk to engineers about their reasons for designing a system in a specific way, and have an opportunity to provide their input with regard to improvements. Once you have obtained your diploma, you will have the coolest job ever.’


English-language program

Robotics Systems Engineering is an international master’s degree program and is therefore taught in English. ‘We expect the influx of new students to initially stem from our bachelor’s degree graduates, but we also anticipate that this program will attract students from all over the country and even all over the world in the future,’ says Campfens. ‘The regional business community is also active internationally, of course. Therefore, if we want to keep up with this diversity, it is important to educate our students within an international context.’ Bekke: ‘In addition, we expect the number of assignments from the business community to exceed the number of incoming students. That is why we will also need to focus on international students in order to meet the demand from the business community. Moreover, all documentation and software is in English, so our students will need to be familiar with the relevant jargon.’


Win-win situation

Saxion and TValley will be making use of  ‘learning communities’ for the master’s degree program. ‘This allows us to link students to the business community and researchers of the Mechatronics research group when technical cases are being studied. This will give them an opportunity to share experiences and ideas,’ concludes Campfens. ‘Thanks to this approach, we will ultimately be creating a win-win situation for our students and the business community.’


Source: saxion.nl


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