19 March 2020

The collaboration between Linköping University and Brazil is taking a step forward. Henrique Raduenz is a double degree doctoral student and will receive degrees from both LiU and the Brazilian university UFSC. “There’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s worth the extra effort.”

Henrique Raduenz and Petter Krus.
Henrique Raduenz and his supervisor at LiU, Petter Krus. Photo credit: Mikael Sönne

No winter this year

Will it snow soon? Henrique Raduenz arrived in Linköping in December and has been waiting for the Swedish winter ever since. Now spring has come, and he’ll probably have to wait until next winter for snow. A bit of a disappointment, but everything else about his move here has worked out perfectly – he’s sorted out accommodation and is very happy with his spacious office at one end of the A Building.

“I’m not sure I’d be prepared to travel to a very different country. But I’d already spent six months here in Sweden as a Master’s student and was somewhat familiar with the country. And I know Petter (Krus, his supervisor at LiU), and have met several others in the research group”, he says.

In the lab at LiU.

He has been at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) in Brazil for the first years of his doctoral education, while for the remainder of his studies he’ll be at LiU. This period is starting now, and he plans to present his thesis in June 2022, to receive doctoral degrees from both LiU and UFSC.

Important qualification

His research project is in machine learning and how it can be used to reduce energy consumption in large construction machines, such as wheel-loaders.

“I see only advantages in taking a double degree. It’s prestigious in Brazil to have a Swedish degree, while in Sweden there are hopefully no disadvantages in having a Brazilian one. I’m not sure what I will do after the degree – stay in academia or move to industry. And I don’t know in which country I’ll be living. I’m trying to keep all options open and get most benefit out of this opportunity.”

Henrique’s supervisor Petter Krus points out that a doctoral degree is a greater merit in Sweden than in Brazil. At least, outside of the university world.

“Eighty percent of our doctoral students get jobs in industry. A doctorate is an important and attractive qualification for these jobs. In Brazil, in contrast, pretty much the only people who take doctorates are those who want to make a career in academia.”

Started with Gripen

The collaboration in doctoral education may not be unique, but it’s very unusual. After Brazil purchased several Gripen fighter aircraft from Saab, LiU has collaborated with several Brazilian universities, and Petter Krus sees the double doctorate as a logical consequence of the collaboration. He has himself worked with Victor Juliano De Negri, Henrique’s advisor from UFSC, and other researchers in Brazil since 2011, and now spends a few months every year working there. And in 2015 he was awarded a professorship at the Instituto Technológico de Aeronáutica (ITA) in Brazil.

The collaboration that is part of Petter Krus’ project has so far involved close contact between senior researchers and the exchange of Master’s students. Some of LiU’s doctoral and masters students have visited Brazil.

“For me, this is a step forward in the collaboration we have already established. But it is at the same time a test for everyone involved.”

Are double doctorates a thing for the future?

“Yes, I think so. Collaboration based on a doctoral student is a commitment for several years. This is a deeper level than, for example, writing an article together.”

A lot of paperwork

One negative aspect is the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork required when two universities, geographically widely separated, are to collaborate in a new way. The agreement between LiU and UFSC fills seven pages (each one of which has been duly signed by four people) and the process of making the application and obtaining permission took more than a year. One and a half, to be precise.

Petter Krus and Henrique Raduenz.

“It was difficult. And it was hard work getting this done while at the same time working with my studies. But it was worth the effort”, says Henrique Raduenz.

“This is the first time we do a double doctorate. We hope that it will be easier next time”, says Petter Krus.

Henrique has seen large differences between research education in Brazil and in Sweden.

“It feels more like employment in a job here, which is what it is, actually. You get a salary and are expected to carry academic activities such as teaching. In Brazil, you’re still a student, attend lectures, and carry out research. You might only get a scholarship while a research student in Brazil. I prefer the Swedish model.”

Translated by George Farrants


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