University Carlos III Madrid Helping Fuel the Future of the Aerospace Industry

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Championing the motto “Flying together, flying as one”, the Airbus Group is one of the world’s leading corporate organisations when it comes to believing in the value of collaboration with universities. The recognised leader in aeronautics and space services, Airbus has built high profile strategic partnerships with 21 universities in 11 countries across the world as part of its Airbus Global University Partner Program, which constitutes a vital element of their ongoing success. Airbus interacts with around 2,500 university students every year through the Partner Program, supported by a team of 83 Airbus employees. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is one of three Spanish universities which cooperates with the aerospace giant, helping to prime the talent pipeline for the future of the aerospace industry via a number of joint initiatives.

The university meets industry

The collaboration between Airbus Group and UC3M commenced formally in 2008. The partnership contributes to Airbus’ aim to sustain and improve its productivity and competitiveness in the aerospace industry. Airbus accomplishes this by cultivating globally minded students with the current and future skills it has identified as essential, and by tapping into the innovative potential of both students and academics at UC3M. UC3M has welcomed the collaboration as a pathway to nurturing world-class human capital with an unmatched understanding of the aerospace industry. For UC3M, the partnership also provides the opportunity to engage in R&D projects that enhance its in-house capacity, whilst simultaneously leading to the development of potentially patentable innovations, and to participate in exchanges of ideas and best practices at the industry frontier.

In order to achieve these objectives, the collaboration is organized around four areas: education; research and knowledge transfer; valorization; and entrepreneurship. The collaboration agreement included the creation of a joint R&D Center, the development of a jointly owned educational program at a Masters Level, and paid industry internship opportunities for students.

Wide range of initiatives

The joint Centre for Aerospace Systems Integration (CASI) was established within the UC3M Science Park in 2008. CASI currently hosts 38 interdisciplinary research groups that are tasked with knowledge generation and transfer. A focused effort is made to facilitate the transfer of tacit knowledge, through space sharing and the promotion of formal and informal interactions between Airbus staff and UC3M faculty and research students.

The other major initiative of the collaboration is the Master’s in Aircraft Systems Integration (MASI) programme, which has been operating since 2009. MASI is tailored to meet the needs of the aerospace industry in general and Airbus Group in particular. What makes MASI unique is not only the fact that the courses are offered by renowned scholars and practitioners, but also because students are required to undertake projects that engage with solving actual real-world problems confronting Airbus. Educational activities have now been expanded to incorporate a joint PhD programme in 2012.

The results of the Airbus Group-UC3M collaboration have been very encouraging thus far. CASI has engaged in several highly relevant local and European projects, some of which have been translated in to patentable innovations. Similarly, the joint educational programs have been very successful. The Master’s program enjoys a track record of 100% employability of its graduates, many of whom have been recruited by the Airbus Group itself. The joint doctorate program is now successfully producing PhD graduates, while more than 1,150 industry internships have been completed by students since 2008.

Want to learn more about the Airbus Group-UC3M case study? You can find the full report here


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