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Industrial Research School in Complex Systems

Alternative title: Industriforskerskole i komplekse systemer

Awarded: NOK 16.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2022 - 2030

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The Industrial Research School will equip PhD candidates to conduct world-leading research and innovation in complex systems. The key to success is the close collaboration between industry and academia. Norwegian industry needs engineers and researchers who understand the complexity and can develop systems in a world with demanding needs, advanced technology, and an abundance of information. Cooperation and co-creation across industry and academia are necessary if we are to achieve the goal of contributing to increased value creation for the Norwegian industry and leading the research field forward. The Industrial Research School in complex systems is a collaboration between three Norwegian universities (USN, NTNU, UiA), technology companies, and industrial clusters (in Buskerud, Østfold, Agder, Vestfold, and Telemark). The new school is inspired by the award-winning Industrimaster program that USN started at Kongsberg. There, students divide their time on the master's program between the university and relevant employers. The graduate school is also based on the long experience with industrial doctoral candidates at UiA, as well as NTNU's professionalization of research methods, which has helped many research fellows to complete their doctoral degrees in the standard time. The new school gives PhD candidates the opportunity to work closely with companies through either an internship in a company, a paid 50% position in a company or a "Business PhD". It also provides access to courses with credits on systems thinking, reflective practice, and innovation in complex systems. The school has a long-term goal of developing skills and capacity both at the collaborating universities and with the industry partners. Considerations for sustainability, digitalization, and personal adaptation of products and solutions will affect how innovation takes place in the future. This will also have an effect on the complex systems developed in the industry.

Norwegian Industry needs engineers and researchers that can understand the complexity and develop systems in a world with an increasing number of stakeholders, modern technologies, and an overflow of information. Research on Complex Industrial Systems is an emerging field, where cross-industry- and academia collaboration and co-creation are needed to further develop the domain and value creation for the Norwegian industry. The field of complex systems is a topic relevant to working life as shown by the solid support that 5 business clusters and 14 strong industrial actors provide for this application. The industrial drivers for the school are digitalization, sustainability, and personalization. The academic drivers for the research school are the need to identify and capture in the industry the tacit knowledge of developing complex systems and the need for an effective methodology to research such a highly contextual way of working. In the Industry Research School in Complex Systems, the PhD candidates will be working in the industry with industry goals and needs, using industry-as-laboratory. The inspiration for the School is the award-winning Industry Master’s program at USN, collaboration structures with industrial PhDs at UiA, and the professionalized research methods practiced at NTNU helping a large number of PhD candidates finalize on time. Cross-fertilization between academic actors is an important benefit. The School focus is on the long term to develop capability and capacity both at universities and Norway's future industry, which is depending on engineers and researchers with a holistic understanding, capable of collaborating and integrating their work into a larger system and context. The School will enroll candidates in cohorts of 10-20 per year. In the initial cohort, there will be 11 candidates. After four years the expected intake number is 15 each year. After eight years the expected number of candidates is 50.

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