A START-UP IN THE DEGREE OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING: GENERATING THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP OF THE GRADUATES
Complutense University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Chemical Engineering is a multidisciplinary science related to the study, synthesis, development, design, operation and optimization of the industrial processes related to the physical, chemical and/or biochemical changes in materials. This science develops a key role in the design, maintenance, evaluation, optimization, simulation, planification, construction and operation of the industrial plants, where different compounds and products via physical and chemical processes are obtained. Chemical Engineering Degree is designed to prepare the students to accomplish all these tasks during their next future work environment. Actually, the Degree in Chemical Engineering in Complutense University is structured in 4 academic years with 60 ECTS per year.
In order to achieve the mentioned goals, teaching and learning methods are considerably changing. On one hand, the conventional lectures –master classes- involving the solving of practice cases and problems are an imperative part of the program of all the subjects, with an increasing use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (Campus Virtual-Moodle platform, etc.). Otherwise, other essential part is the practical work, usually developed in the laboratory and/or in pilot-plants, in order to improve and apply the theoretical knowledge that is essential in the formation of the graduates.
In the last years, there is a perception of the necessity of the mismatch between the needs of the chemical engineering industry and the academic level of the graduates with social or another kind of skills such as problems solving in groups, interpersonal communication, group and team participation, coping with change, decision making and self-evaluation, among others. Despite of the best intentions of the lecturers, several reports have emphasized that our graduates lack these competencies.
The aim of this work is the setting-up of a “start-up” working with a group of students enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree Final Project of the Degree in Chemical Engineering whose final purpose is the design of a plant for the fabrication of detergents. This Project has been developed in Complutense University during the last three academic years; in this period of time an outstanding increasing of the number of enrolled students occurred, being a high percentage of the total number of students registered in the Bachelor’s degree Final Project subject.
This proposal intends to encourage both the entrepreneurship and self-employment of the graduates, being this aspect one of the main shortcomings of the conventional learning plans. In addition, the cooperative learning and the work team for the consecution of a common purpose have been promoted. Thus, the competencies learned during the Degree in Chemical Engineering are used to solve problems by realistic models, with the continuous supervision of teachers and professionals of the chemical industry.
This work has been granted by the Vicerrectorado de Calidad of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid under program Proyectos de Innovación Educativa nº: 265/2016, 264/2017 and 171/2018. The team would also like to thank the Chemical Engineering PhD students collaborating in this project.
Keywords: Start-Up, Bachelor’s degree Final Project, Entrepreneurship.