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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

Sustainable logistics of the future

Alternative title: Sustainable logistics of the future

Awarded: NOK 4.5 mill.

In the last years, Industry 4.0 has obtained much attention from the scientific community, driven by the industry requirements of the implementation of new digital technologies for smart production and logistics systems. Less attention has been paid at the educational level, especially about how to prepare the engineers and managers of the future in dealing with Industry 4.0 concepts and technological advances within logistics. Just a few universities and research centers have started to develop laboratories for the investigation of innovative and digital technologies, and to include them into traditional teaching approaches. Moreover, little attention has been paid to investigate how digital technologies can improve the sustainability of logistics systems. Our primary objective is to develop world-class education and research in sustainable logistics of the future, where new advanced technologies will enable more efficient, resilient and environmental-friendly supply chains, and support workers in logistics systems with a human-centered perspective. All partners involved in this project are leading experts in sustainable supply chain management, modeling of complex logistics systems, new logistics fields, human factor and digital technologies in many different application areas. This collaboration will contribute to the development of a world-leading professional environment from a synergic relationship between the knowledge in logistics of universities around the globe and the experience in digital technologies of Logistics 4.0 Lab at NTNU. An important part of this project will be to provide students at all levels (BSc, MSc, Ph.D.) education in sustainable logistics of the future, and invite them to participate in several stages of the project with experiments and case research. The laboratories will play a central role and allow researchers, practitioners, engineers, pioneers, students, and other enthusiasts to work together and collaborate on common ground.

Digital technologies resulting of the fourth industrial revolution, also called Industry 4.0, are most likely the strongest driver to improve and optimize performance of the supply chain and logistics and simultaneously taking into account the sustainable dimensions. To educate and prepare the next generation of engineers and managers, the production management group of NTNU opened the first logistics laboratory in Norway that merges digital technologies with traditional production and logistics systems. This project wants to extend the purpose and quality of the Logistics 4.0 lab to become a world leading lab connected to key experts around the globe. Collaborating with members from the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) in US and education centers from Canada, France, Germany, and India, it will enable to provide education at a top level and to conduct high-quality research in sustainable logistics of the future. To achieve this, the project is divided in work pages focusing on traditional and emerging logistics fields including circular economy, closed-loop supply chain, collaborative logistics, etc. on network level and the integration of digital technologies and smart material handling systems for human-centered logistics systems on factory level. These efforts will facilitate to educate the future generations of engineers to deal with complex logistics systems in a very dynamic environment with a sustainable perspective where technologies can make the world a better place. Moreover, the project will support the development of new approaches for the integration of environmental issue and human factors and new technologies in the design and management of the logistics systems of the future.

Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research