“Post-MSc technological design (PDEng) traineeships by Dutch universities of technology catalyse industrial innovation.

The two-year post-MSc technological design traineeships organized by the Dutch Universities of Technology, and leading to the Professional Doctorate in engineering (PDEng) degree, are still going strong after 28 years of existence. In 1986 the Dutch government and the Dutch industry – both aiming to increase the level of design competencies and personal and business skills of selected top-level MSc graduates in selected technical areas – jointly initiated these traineeships. The technical content of these traineeships, and the one-year design thesis projects from industry have been continuously adjusted to the industry’s needs and the universities’ research, design and education capabilities. Currently 20 PDEng programmes spread over many technical disciplines (automotive, (bio)chemical, food, energy, logistics, robotics, civil engineering industries) and where industry is actively pursuing innovation, are active. Six of these programmes were started in the last four years and cooperation with new industrial partners was initiated. The design theses (almost without exception executed under confidentiality agreement between the partners) lead to new innovation leads and trade secrets or patents. The vast majority of the PDEng graduates recruited from all over the globe, find employment at one of these innovative companies in the Netherlands, and populate the companies’ technical career track for a very extended period of time.”