E. Llera, A. Aranda, S. Scarpellini, I. Zabalza

CIRCE-Universidad de Zaragoza (SPAIN)
The active participation of industry in training programs is one of the most valuable university-industry (U-I) linkages due to its high potential for dissemination of knowledge and generate positive effects on the economy (technology transfer, employment, etc.). This value is higher in sustainability related topics where innovation plays an important role.
This article describes the seven-year experience of a U-I collaboration in a Master Program in Eco-efficiency at the University of Zaragoza. Nevertheless, due to the relevance of the sustainable development, relationships with many other interest groups such as governmental agencies, communities, unions, NGO, etc. have been also established.
Since all stages in the production of a good or service are susceptible to reconsideration from the sustainability, the arrangement of work by multidisciplinary teams is expected and not only engineers but professionals from many other disciplines (licensed in law, economy, education, etc.) can be involved. Hence, the syllabus has been continuously designed to establish, reinforce or redirect technical-specific and methodological-generics skills depending on the previous student knowledge. A multi-stage and multi-specialization program has been designed.
Coordination mechanisms between university and stakeholders include not only apprenticeships and internships but also placement programs, curriculum review committees, continuing education, consulting and industry initiatives whereby the private sector contributes to special training programs but also influences the content and nature of that training to ensure it remains relevant to the market. The Master’s objective of approaching the qualified workforce supply and demand is achieved by means of these initiatives. This aim is particularly significant since green jobs are viewed as a driving force in today’s economy.
Finally, U-I collaboration in producing, sponsoring and delivering the course has revealed as a right way to establish bridges between actors offline in the local system and strengthen the existing ones, filling structural gaps in the network activity and creating new industrial identities.