Level 1 Training: Learning by Doing ‐ Individual Research Training Projects
Procedures Hands‐on research as part of an interdisciplinary project team: The scientific, but application oriented ESR PhD projects are carried out as a collaboration of academia and industry. They allow the PhD students to work in a highly co‐operative and interdisciplinary framework and provide a supportive environment to pursue their PhD projects in a focused and efficient manner. The ESRs will be part of an interdisciplinary project team, but be able (through the ITN funding) to independently work on specific scientific objectives. By immersion in the project structure, the students will experience work in an (scientific and/or industrial) project and are able to develop contacts that are important for their future professional life.
Supervision: For every PhD project two full partners will supervise the project. In some projects, one of the associated partners will further advise the project from the perspective of industry, SME, or scientific community by commenting on regular short progress reports, by meeting with the ESR during training courses, workshops and project meetings. Co‐supervision by full partners includes hosting the ESR for in total at least three months during the project. Associated partners will offer internships. Non‐university hosts will make sure that the PhD project is registered at a partner university.
Personal Development Plan: For every ESR a personal development plan (PDP) will be formulated, and updated by the ESR, the supervisors and the advisor. The plan will be discussed and, if necessary, modified by the Progress Board. The PDP formulates and documents the goals and achievements of the ESR, as well as identifying training needs and opportunities. It includes a gantt chart showing PDP activity timing for the immediate future 2‐6 months. The plan is drawn up when the ESR starts, and continuously monitored and updated as work progresses. The approach mirrors that used to support research staff at HWU, with similar proformas for recording, adapted for this more collaborative environment.
Training Monitoring and Credit Points: A formal system of monitoring, review and support/guidance for the ESRs will be implemented and controlled by the Progression Board. The basis of this system are ROBOCADEMY credit points. The Progression Board will finalize and propose a concept for ROBOCADEMY credit points (including the conditions for their translation into standard ECTS credits) to the Supervisory Board for decision.
In this system, ESR supervisors will complete formal supervision reports, update the ESRs personal development plan, and distribute credit points for individual achievements (quality of scientific results, publications etc.). Credit points are also given for successful attendance of the various training programmes (mostly Level 3 scientific training programme and the Level 3 soft skills training programme, but also secondments).
The Progress Board will formally review credit report of ESRs, note areas where additional support is required, provide guidance and feedback as part of a progress appraisal. ESR's will be required to two make interim presentations to the Progression Board within the three years of their PhD programme. The final quality of the ESRs PhD programme will heavily depend on his/her credit report.
In the Consortium Agreement, the ROBOCADEMY partners will commit themselves to acknowledge the credit point system as an objective measure of the quality of an ESR.
Career consulting: The discussion of the PDP will also include a thorough career consulting to the ESR. The PDP and the industrial supervisors will discuss career opportunities for the ESR that include universities and other research centers, industry, consulting firms, regulatory authorities, and self‐employment. In ROBOCADEMY, the ESRs are not restricted to the field of robotics research and development; areas such as marine science and oceanography, the oil‐ and gas industry, and the growing field of offshore energy will also offer employment opportunities.
Most instruments to implement these options are included in Robocademy’s network training: courses, workshops, conferences, and internships. Specific instruments needed for an ESR’s specific interests, or identified as particularly useful by the supervisors, can be chosen, e.g. courses not covered by Robocademy or internships at firms or institutions not involved in Robocademy. Particular emphasis will be put on complementary skills by including a checklist in the career development plan that lists where and when training in the different skills will be obtained.