Introducing the Connected Curriculum at Manchester Metropolitan
Manchester Metropolitan University Masters students are benefitting from world-leading Industry 4.0 tech and insight
Manchester Metropolitan University is one of just five UK universities partnering with Siemens to embed the multinational company’s academic teaching programme, Connected Curriculum, in their courses – and the only University doing so at postgraduate level.
The University is at the forefront of understanding and interpreting the role that Industry 4.0 can play in the wider world. They have pledged to help bridge the Industry 4.0 skills gap by equipping the engineers, innovators and analysts of tomorrow with the knowledge and techniques they will need to bring the best out of software and hardware.
Dr Carl Diver, Reader in Industrial Digitalisation at the University, said: “We have been doing a lot of work over the last year or two around Industry 4.0.
“It’s been adopted by us as a key strategy for the University and we have a wide range of technologies that people can engage with, embrace, try out, and see what the opportunity and the potential of that technology is.
“Going beyond that, we want to be recognised as the go-to place for Industry 4.0 and globally as a real innovator.
“It’s about not being afraid to challenge things – and pushing the boundaries of technology.”
Students studying on a suite of masters courses at the University now benefit from simulation environments, curriculum examples, case studies and real-life problem-solving tutorials that complement the subject’s core content.
Carl added: “There’s a clear digital skills gap and we’re seeing that message in reports from the Government, from different employer bodies, from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and from Manchester City Council.
“There is a clear focus from the University to engage with industry, to understand what industry is after and where the pain points are.”
Entrenched in all of the University’s Industry 4.0-related courses and its research is the blurring of traditional practices and the encouragement to adopt a fresh mind-set to problems – the proverbial ‘thinking outside the box’.
Beyond the obvious potential in areas such as manufacturing or engineering is the harnessing of the new technological opportunities by less obvious fields such as health, art, architecture and fashion.
Specialised workers will no longer work in isolation, with collaboration being key, and this prospect is one of the most exciting and potentially most fruitful aspects of Industry 4.0, Carl believes.
He said: “One of the aspects that we’re pushing is the multidisciplinary nature of Industry 4.0.
“One thing that we do really well at Manchester Metropolitan is our cross-discipline collaboration.
“From an engineering point of view, it’s about bringing those other disciplines in such as art and design – the creative side.
“You need people with different skill sets. You can be an expert in one area but you need some basic skill sets in many other areas or disciplines.
“It’s difficult to understand what will happen, but I think we’ll be blown away over the next few years by the different approach to doing things.”
Thanks to the Connected Curriculum, students now have access to Siemens Digital Industries’ world-leading industrial software portfolio and cloud-based Internet of Things platform MindSphere – an operating system for business that connects products, machines and systems digitally and produces a wealth of useful productivity data that can be analysed to monitor and improve performance.
Students also have the opportunity to secure placements and attend site visits and the University will have digital twin versions of connected equipment that are being used in the workplace for students to study and explore.
Carl Diver will be speaking at the Industry 4.0 Summit on 31 March. Come and hear the latest developments in Industry 4.0 & their real-life applications in manufacturing.