Embedded Master’s Students Conduct Highly Relevant Research Using Industry as Their Laboratory
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTechnology innovation management review. 2019, 9 (5), 54-73. http://doi.org/10.22215/timreview/1241
This article analyzes participatory action research conducted by Systems Engineering master’s students embedded fifty percent in industrial companies for three years. The resulting papers authored by these students identify challenges and effective practices suitable for knowledge transfer between industry and academia. The analysis covers 181 completed master’s projects, with a detailed analysis of 40 papers that have been published in international conferences and journals. The publication rate of about 23% shows that these students contribute actively to the body of Systems Engineering knowledge. This study analyzes master’s projects at three levels – industrial problem and drivers; Systems Engineering methods; and research method feasibility – and provides valuable lessons learned by applying the industry-as-laboratory approach. Embedding students in industry has resulted in publications that do not suffer from the main challenges of participatory research such as delays, repeatability, and only action and not research. These insights are valuable both for industry and for academia in future work to enhance innovations.