Unveiling the Gap

Unveiling the Gap

P. Jensson, O. Rokkjær, B. Nörgaard (2013).  Unveiling the Gap. 11.

This paper describes a project in Europe called Industrial Engineering Standards in Europe (IESE). The project was collaboration between universities and organizations that offer Industrial Engineering (IE) education and/or continuing education in 6 European countries. The project was funded by the EU Leonardo da Vinci Partnership program.

The project had two objectives. The first objective was to use the European Qualification Framework (EQF) as a benchmark against the National Qualification Framework (NQF) of the partner countries and the IE educations offered by the partner institutions. What seemed to be a relatively straightforward task showed to be more complicated. Iceland, the Netherlands and Denmark have adopted the EQF approach with 8 levels - BSc, MSc and PhD as the top three levels. Ireland has adjusted to their national educational system with 10 levels, Germany is still discussing their NQF and Sweden has decided not to adjust to the EQF for the moment.

Analysis of the subject focus for the individual programmes showed a high degree of variation. In the context of CDIO this means that what seems to be a well-known and commonly accepted definition of a discipline like IE is in fact ambiguous. The six partners in the project had highly different interpretations of what is IE.

The second objective in the project was to conduct a survey among industries in order to investigate a possible gap between the educational programs and the needs of the industry. A survey was carried out in Ireland, the Netherlands and in Iceland, keeping in mind the discussion above. The results indicated serious gaps in various topics. In all three countries the industry emphasis was quite different from what the educational institutions were offering. Questions rise about how to assess industry needs, how universities decide what to teach, and how to bridge the gap. Do the university programs simply reflect the expertise of the faculty members? Is there need for increasing emphasis on continuing education? Is life-long education the answer, and has this been addressed by the CDIO community?


Proceedings of the 9th International CDIO Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 9 – 13, 2013.


Authors (New): 
Páll Jensson
Ole Rokkjær
Bente Nörgaard
Reykjavik University, Iceland
Aalborg University, Denmark
Industrial Engineering
Gap Analysis
Continuing Education
European Qualification Framework
http://www.iestandards.eu/ , Dec 2010: 
http://www.iienet2.org/Details.aspx?id=282, Dec 2010.: 
http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/framework_en.htm, Dec 2010 : 
Handbook of Industrial Engineering, Edited by Gavriel Salvendy, Institute of Industrial Engineering, John Wiley & Sons Inc New York 1991.: 
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