Intensive Programme


There is a growing concern to upgrade the relevance of Ph.D. education throughout Europe in order to increase efficiency and career options for graduates. In many cases, when a Ph.D. student finishes her/his degree, she/he has limited professional experience in industrial contexts. This fact restricts the possibilities of that student to be hired for a position in an industrial company, since she/he is seen as a highly skilled person in a specific field of expertise, but with no awareness of the industrial realities.

The overall objective of the ICCES Programme is to upgrade the industry relevance of European Ph.D. education in engineering and technology, in order to produce Ph.D. graduates who are better equipped to participate in all aspects of innovation and product development in industry.

More specifically, the ICCES Programme aims to prepare Ph.D. students to use their technical, scientific, and research skills in industry, namely to train them on how to tackle complex engineering problems in an industrial context, in an innovative and research-oriented perspective. Students, organized in multi-disciplinary teams, are expected to propose a research plan that appropriately tackles a given problem, concerning both a scientific perspective and an industrial point of view.

Ph.D. students are confronted with real (and complex) engineering problems owned by the industrial partner that belongs to this initiative, acting as the local host for the actual delivery of the Programme. The assignments for this Programme were agreed in advance between the different academic partners and the industrial company. By addressing this objective, students benefit from participating in the Programme in two different possible ways. Firstly, students may use the real problems proposed during the Programme as part of their Ph.D. plan. This is not generically straightforward to achieve, but is possible in some specific situations, that need to be carefully analyzed afterwards with the company and the student’s supervisor. Secondly, the students become more aware of the problems in industry and will be better skilled to face similar contexts when they finish their Ph.D.s and are hired by an industrial company, instead of simply aiming for a full academic career. Additionally, the ICCES Programme is intended to strengthen the interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and multicultural collaboration skills for the students with distinct technical backgrounds.

Target groups

Ph.D. students in engineering and technology, most especially in the fields of electrical and electronics engineering, control, mechanics and materials engineering, industrial and systems engineering, computer science, dependability, informatics and, information systems engineering. Preferably, a participating student should be at least in the end of the first year of her/his Ph.D. programme, with the thesis proposal already elaborated and being under development.

Main activities

During the ICCES Programme, which is planned to run once every year in an industrial location, Ph.D. students will be confronted with real (and complex) engineering problems owned by the industrial partner acting as the local host of the delivery of the ICCES Programme. The students, organised in multi-disciplinary teams, are expected to propose a research plan that adequately tackles a given problem, with both a scientific perspective and a business/market one. The plan must include issues like intellectual property rights, patents, industrial innovation, funding for innovation projects, market needs, research collaborations, publication of industrial case studies and demonstration cases.

Learning outcomes

After completion of the ICCES Programme, students are expected to be prepared to tackle and solve complex engineering problems in industry. In particular, they will have strong competences in these three areas:

  • Work within multidisciplinary teams, to promote creativity and innovation;
  • Adopt techniques like abstraction, modelling and simulation, to manage complexity;
  • Prepare applied research plans, to support a policy for patents and industrial property and to sustain industry development.

Expected outputs

It is expected that the Ph.D. students taking the ICCES Programme will be much better prepared for the challenges that they will face if they are hired in the future by an industrial company.

The industrial participants in this initiative will be better prepared to realize how Ph.D. graduates can be integrated in their system development process, mainly in the innovative and creativity tasks that may benefit from their research skills.

The academic partners will be able to gain experience from the real needs of the industry so that their doctoral programmes can incorporate the development of industry-relevant skills. This experience will allow the production of publications that may influence the way European universities may deal with the employment of their Ph.D. students and, consequently, the sustainable development of the European economy.

As deliverables of each edition of the ICCES Programme, there are:

  • applied research plans, written by the students, for the considered engineering problems;
  • position papers, written by the students, to explain their research plans to the scientific community;
  • simulations and presentations, by the students, about their research plans.