Industry Research Project Week (IRPW) – Part 2

How to assist students in developing entrepreneurial skills within an interdisciplinary framework and applying new technology

Swen Günther
HTW Dresden, University of applied Sciences

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Christian Wölfel
TU Dresden, University of Technology

Frithjof Meinel
Burg Giebichenstein, University of Art and Design, Halle/ S.

Albrecht Meixner
Hochschuldidaktisches Zentrum Sachsen (HDS), Leipzig

Background and Objectives
The Industry Research Project Week (IRPW) took place for the second time in the last week of September 2018. This time our sponsor was the Higher Education Institute in Saxony (HDS) supporting new learning approaches at the university level. With the cooperation of the University of Technology (TU) and the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) in Dresden we were able to engage students from different academic backgrounds and disciplines (Engineering, Design & Business). This multi-institutional approach was an important success factor for challenging students in new ways, stimulating their creativity and being able to implement their ideas to build prototypes.

The IRPW was introduced as Next Practice Profile at last year´s conference. We are excited to share the results from our newest project, in which we had the same objective of promoting university-industry interaction. Thanks to our partnership with HDS we could put a stronger focus on the evaluation of student´s involvement and learning experiences during the project week. The results of this comprehensive evaluation will be presented at the UIIC conference 2019. This could provide a foundation for future projects. Based on contingency theory we found significant cause-and-effect relationships between situational factors, team dynamic, teachers´ performance and students´ feedback regarding project and learning results.

In the IRPW the students from the organizations mentioned above get in touch with this new technology of smart materials. During the week, the students had the opportunity to work actively in real-life scenarios, e.g. science labs, innovation labs, and relevant firms. Resulting from interdisciplinary teams of engineers, management and design students, there is a high likelihood of finding innovative product designs that combine (unfulfilled) customer needs with the newest technology. At the end of the week, the designs will be evaluated by company representatives as well as accompanying researchers and lecturers.