Eindhoven - Bright Cape and imec the Netherlands are hiring EIT Digital industrial doctorate students to implement deep tech solutions based on new academic research. The students are working on their theses with a research assignment from the companies, under the academic supervision of the Technical University Twente and Eindhoven respectively. At the same time these students receive training in innovation and entrepreneurship from the EIT Digital Academy.
PhD candidates at imec the Netherlands and the Eindhoven University of Technology start their research on wireless communication of medical mini-implants. Mini-implants can be swallowed, injected or implanted with the aim of monitoring vital electro-chemical functions, or releasing medicines into the body. RF signal attenuation and distortion caused by body tissue, power issues relating to the implant and the implant’s location are still challenges in this field of healthcare research. This is where the PhD students will focus. They will implement a new system concept and algorithms that will transfer energy and information to the implant via a smart multi-antenna base unit.
Wireless communication of mini-implants is an important development in healthcare, according to Jac Romme, industrial advisor and principal researcher IoT Systems at imec the Netherlands. “Due to the collaboration with the TU/e, EIT Digital and also EIT Health, the candidate and the research have access to a unique combination of technical, medical and market knowledge, both from an academic and industrial perspective.”
According to Robert Prieto, Chief Education Officer of EIT Digital, Europe urgently needs researchers to carry out work within companies on how to apply new technological developments. “Innovation starts with education and research. We see that especially in the tech sector: a lot of talented people trade their academic career for a business career. This deters them and Europe from the chance to innovate based on research. Hence, a different way of researching is needed: a combination of the best of industry and the academic world. On top of that, there is a need for an entrepreneurial mindset to actually apply the research directly to the business.”
Thanks to its large network of universities and companies, the EIT Digital Doctoral School was able to transform its doctoral programme into industrial doctorates in 2016.
In the Netherlands, industrial doctorates are a rather new phenomenon. In 2018 the Dutch Research Council NWO launched its first industrial doctorates last year as a pilot with SME companies. Whereas other countries have more experience of them; in Denmark for example, industrial doctorates exist here already more than forty years. What sets EIT Digital PhD students apart, is that in addition to their research they receive training in innovation and entrepreneurship and leadership.
Bright Cape’s PhD candidate has been in post since 1 December. Under the supervision of the University of Twente, he works on research at the collaboration between men and machine that, due to the Industry 4.0, will transform into new interaction forms in the so-called Cyber Physical Systems (CPS). CPSs are networked systems, in which data are constantly exchanged, and algorithms influence or determine both machine and human behaviour. “This is the reason for more research,” says Serge Beniers, CEO of Bright Cape. “We are currently not able to predict the impact that the implementation of CPS in industry 4.0 will have. There is as yet too little knowledge to account for a safe, efficient and effective collaboration between human and machine.”
“With the industrial doctorate, Bright Cape wants to discover enriched methodologies to make such collaborations possible. This would provide many new market opportunities for us, since we could help our clients even better in this way, in thinking out and implementing practical solutions within Industry 4.0.”
PhD students also benefit from an industrial doctorate. It is attractive to them to conduct research that will actually be used in the real world. David Oliva Uribe, head of the EIT Digital Doctoral School, says: “Research shows that their career opportunities are significantly higher than normal PhD students.”