Strong partnership behind new center at SDU
A unique collaboration between public and private enterprises forms the basis for new research and innovation facilities as well as new engineering study programmes at SDU in Sønderborg. SDU, Danfoss A/S, LINAK A/S, the Region of Southern Denmark and Sønderborg Municipality each invest DKK 35-36m in a new Center for Industrial Electronics.
By Sune Holst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 21-06-2017
Danfoss A/S, LINAK A/S, the Region of Southern Denmark, SDU and Sønderborg Municipality have agreed to finance the establishment of Center for Industrial Electronics.
The new center will boast research, innovation and test facilities at a high international level and at the same time be a foundation for new engineering study programmes in the field of electronics at BSc, MSc and BEng levels.
The partners have each invested DKK 35-36m in the new center, in total DKK 176m, just as the Bitten and Mads Clausen Foundation and LINAK will finance the construction of a completely new building to be erected in connection to Alsion.
The building will accommodate laboratories and test facilities for the new center.
- The new Center for Industrial Electronics offers a unique possibility for collaboration with industry in fields where they have specific needs, Dean Henrik Bindslev from SDU says.
Research to strengthen industry
He states that CIE will create value for companies in their innovation and product development work just as it will inspire SDUs researchers and form an excellent basis for educating engineers with competences in high demand by industry.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Danfoss, Jørgen Mads Clausen, explains that the idea of CIE emerged more than ten years ago and ever since staff have worked hard and persistently to realise the project.
From the Faculty of Engineering especially Morten Nymand, Kasper Paasch and Head og the Mads Clausen Institute Horst-Günter Rubahn have been the driving forces behind the formation of the new center.
The aim is that, by 2025, a group of at least 30 researchers of high international level are employed at the center. The center will house state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, which will grant a boost, not only to regional and local businesses, but to the whole energy efficiency industry.
- It is of crucial importance to Danfoss to have access to the latest knowledge and the finest minds – only then can we continue our journey of creating new, groundbreaking solutions for our customers. CIE offers us exactly what we need – and we are happy to play a pivotal role in this project, says President of Danfoss Global Services, Kim Christensen.
The activities at Center for Industrial Electronics are expected to boost the development of new products and solutions strengthening existing companies as well as creating new ones, thus increasing the competitiveness of regional companies.
Alleviating the shortage of graduate engineers
It is the ambition of the center to offer, by 2018, study programmes in electronics at all university levels (BSc, MSc and BEng). The study programmes will be designed with a view to providing the competences requested by local industry.
The programmes are to alleviate the shortage of highly qualified labour experienced by the regional companies.
In and around Sønderborg a need for 1,400 employees with an academic degree by 2020 is forecasted, but with the current development only 600 will be available, resulting in a shortage of 800.
Especially graduate engineers in the fields of electronics, mechatronics and IT are in demand, and therefore it is necessary to act now.
An export heavyweight
The shortage of qualified labour means that companies risk having to turn down orders with negative consequences for growth.
The region has very strong companies within energy efficient technologies and in 2013 the export in these technologies amounted to DKK 34bn, placing the industry among the heavyweights of Danish exports. By comparison the export of pork and live pigs amounted to DKK 27bn.
Moreover, the growth potential in energy efficient technologies is great: 80 percent of the companies expect an increase in turnover in the years to come and 58 percent expect to hire more staff.
- We feel obliged to support the area we are a part of, and to call attention to the development of the Sønderborg area. An initiative such as CIE supports this well, and through this initiative we try to alleviate the shortage of electronics engineers, a huge challenge for the area, says CEO of LINAK, Bent Jensen.
Access to talent and knowledge
Danfoss and LINAK are two of the country’s largest exporters in the field. Through the Center for Industrial Electronics they will, along with other local companies, gain direct access to the talent and knowledge that CIE will produce, increasing the growth potential of the companies.
Center for Industrial Electronics will be established over a number of years. In the first four-year phase, 110 persons are expected to begin or finish an engineering degree in electronics.