In the late 20th century there is an increasing gap between what is taught in engineering programmes and the requirements faced by graduates. It’s time to modernise engineering studies, and MIT, a top-ranked American university, joins forces with Linköping University, Chalmers and KTH to do exactly that.

Photo credit Anna NilsenThey start a project together, to develop a new framework called CDIO, which stands for Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate. The students work in a way that’s very similar to engineers in the workplace.

It all starts at a modest level in 2000, with one programme per university. LiU starts with Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering.

But soon there will be more. It is found that CDIO fosters a deeper understanding of the students’ future profession, and the students are very positive to it. Other universities follow, and the method spreads to other programmes at LiU.

Today, more than 200 universities worldwide have joined the international CDIO network. In engineering at LiU, CDIO courses are given in all MSc and most BSc programmes, and student feedback on these has been excellent. There are some courses that they look forward to for several years. Who wouldn’t like to build a computer-controlled robot or a perfectly adjusted catapult?

Moreover, Brazilian university teachers who want to improve their programmes contact their counterparts at LiU. As a result, the teachers from LiU now export CDIO to Brazil. And in 2018 LiU is the first university to use CDIO in medicine – the new international programme, Experimental and Industrial Biomedicine. 

The trend continues. The industry’s requirements change at an increasing rate, and thanks to the CDIO framework, the university and students can fulfil them.

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