The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is a four-year postgraduate award intended for the UK’s leading research engineers who aspire to key managerial positions in industry.
The training incorporates the industrial relevance, team leadership and application of the best German Dr Ing degrees, and the concept of a taught component within the degree as found in many US universities. It is a radical alternative to the traditional PhD, being better suited to the needs of industry and providing a more vocationally oriented doctorate in engineering. Evidence suggests that graduates from the scheme achieve better job offers, starting salaries and career progression than those carrying out more traditional PhD or MSc training.1
The core goals of the EngD is the development of innovative thinking, while tackling real industrial problems by gaining and applying new knowledge from a modular taught programme. The students, or Research Engineers, are expected to spend around three-quarters of their time working directly with their collaborating company. To support them, packages of training courses are individually tailored to their needs in order to develop a wider range of competencies in engineering business management, as well as specialist technical subjects. This taught component is assessed and forms an integral part of the degree.
The project must demonstrate innovation in the application of knowledge to the engineering business. The work has to make a significant contribution to the performance of the company; it thus has to be part of the mainstream and not a “student” project on the sidelines. The project must include a thorough analysis of options, based on best practice elsewhere, and must demonstrate key competencies such as project planning and control. To ensure this, projects are designed jointly by the academics and the co-operating company with the candidate, with agreed objectives, deliverables, timescales and regular monitoring against these targets.
Supervision of the Research Engineer is jointly between an industrial manager and an academic. Research Engineers will be expected to have developed the following competencies as a result of their training:
- expert knowledge of engineering/science areas relevant to their research project;
- an appreciation of industrial engineering and development culture including:
- The role of research;
- product environment;
- marketing awareness;
- minimisation of environmental impact;
- project and programme management skills – financial planning and control;
- teamwork and leadership skills – communication skills – oral, written, technical, non-technical;
- the ability to apply skills/knowledge to new and unusual situations;
- the ability to seek optimal solutions to complex or multifaceted problems.